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An irrigation method that is spreading more and more in recent times and for different types of crops is the so-called "drip" method, which also allows a considerable saving of water.
What is it?
Drip irrigation consists of a specific irrigation system for each plant: it is therefore necessary to exclusively wet the root area of the plant itself, optimizing water consumption and avoiding waste. This type of irrigation has a long history, and similar methods were also used in ancient times: at that time it was made by filling a container of clay with water, which emptied slowly, constantly watering the plants. Now, the drip irrigation method is becoming more and more specialized, especially in the field of cultivation of fruit trees (but recently it is increasingly used also for the cultivation of vegetables, flowers and other plants). There are different types of plants, built according to the needs of the grower: ranging from systems with constant irrigation to intermittent ones, up to the underground plants (not yet very widespread in Italy), which allow the water to directly flush the plant roots, consuming even less liquid, optimizing more and more the yield and avoiding water stagnation, harmful because they can cause the roots to rot. Usually it is possible to dose both the water pressure and its quantity, making sure that each plant has the necessary irrigation, also based on the different types of soil, the climate and the needs of the plant itself. Drip irrigation has been used consistently since the 1960s in the agricultural and nursery industry: since then, it has naturally specialized more and more, with particular attention to new industrial crops. Currently, drip irrigation is widely used in the production of vegetables for mass distribution.
How does it work
Thanks to the slow and continuous irrigation, the plant gets more nourishment, because the water that is lost in the ground is in smaller quantity. But how exactly does such a system work?
Drip irrigation (also called "micro-irrigation") requires pipes, carabiners and dosing devices. The control unit that must control everything is fundamental: it is from there that the pipes that reach the plants start. Each plant then has its own dispenser (equipped with a dripper), which supplies the water in the quantity and at the rate set at the control unit. Apparently, the first plant was perfected in 1959 in Israel, after a farmer noticed that a tree grew luxuriantly due to minimal water loss in a pipe. From that moment, drip irrigation has spread especially in areas where there is little water available, precisely because it allows you not to waste it. They are part of the facilities of drip irrigation also those with spray: in this case, instead of the drippers planted in the ground there are the so-called "micro-sprayers", which wet the base of the plant with a limited and constant water spray over time. Also in this case, through a control unit it is possible to set the pressure, the desired quantity of water and the frequency.
How to make an installation
Control unit, pipes, drippers and any other object that is necessary for the construction of one's own drip irrigation system can be purchased in stores specializing in gardening items (some can also be found online). The price is not excessive: they will spend about a hundred euros to make a good plant, which has a life of a few years. Of course it is also possible to make very simple systems (even just for one plant): it is advisable to equip yourself with the use of a control unit, which can not only allow you to set the desired amount of water, but also to suspend irrigation in case of rain.
The control unit must be connected to the pipes, in turn planted in the ground, at the roots of the plant that will have to irrigate.
The artisan plants, which are often used to keep water out of indoor plants when on vacation, are instead made with a tank filled with water and connected via a pipe to the pot of the plant you want to irrigate. The tube can be closed with a cork that acts as a filter, so that the water comes out gradually, irrigating the plant constantly until we return home.
Advantages and disadvantages
We have already mentioned water savings, one of the most important advantages of this system. But there are also others, including the non-erosion of the soil. The amount of water that is given to the plants is not in fact sufficient to cause a real erosion, which therefore allows the plants to leave all the nutrients contained in the soil. Among the advantages there is also the fact that the leaves are not wet, as instead happens with more traditional irrigation methods: this greatly reduces the possibility that the plant is attacked by fungi and other parasites. As in all things, drip irrigation also has disadvantages: first of all, the drips and the various parts of the plant need constant revision, as they risk clogging with the earth, making the irrigation system useless. Drip irrigation is not suitable for administering the plant pesticides or other healing products, which must necessarily be administered with sprinkler irrigation.
Irrigation system: drip irrigation
The plants of drip irrigation they are widely used both in home gardens and in cultivation fields, this is because they are very effective and easily favor flowering. To achieve this, however, the filtration system must be properly adjusted. The filters are all made of a very resistant material which in turn is very important for drip irrigation. When there is the operation of the drip irrigator, the discs that are inside it all work together like a harmonic orchestra, in fact it is thanks to this work in particular of the discs that we can have an excellent drip irrigation system. In screen filters the dimensions of the filtering lights are even more important, because during the night it will allow you to locate them and therefore to be able to command them from afar, they can also be used when you forget to turn them off. The light is measured in nesh and the larger the values contained in it, the smaller the dimensions of the light particles remaining.