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Greenhouse Irrigation Systems

Choosing the right irrigation system is important to the growth and health of your plants, especially in a greenhouse where the gardener controls the moisture. Because of this, the irrigation system should be one that can be controlled and maintained so plants won’t receive too much or too little water.

Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and re-vegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. No one system is best for every application. Once you decide to install an irrigation system, you must consider several important factors before deciding which system is best for your situation.

When choosing greenhouse irrigation, consider:

  • Your crops — How much and how often will your plants require water?
  • Labor requirements — How hands-on or hands-off should your system be?
  • Size and shape of your growing area — Which system will most efficiently deliver water to your space?
  • Your water source — Water conservation efforts can be enhanced by the right irrigation system for your needs.

Different plants and crops have different water requirements. Some plants love to be drenched daily and some prefer a dryer climate. Determining the water requirements for your specific crop is the first step to choosing your system; also important are the specifics of your available labor, available space, and available water.

Drip Irrigation

Using a series of overhead hoses and smaller distribution tubes with emitters or spray stakes at each end, water drips or is sprayed into individual containers. Watering is timed and well-regulated, making a drip system ideal for conserving water. These systems can be expanded as needed, feature low energy costs and can be customized to suit greenhouses, plant containers, raised beds, shrubs, hanging baskets, and more. Typically, this type of system is geared toward containerized greenhouse floriculture crops.

Surface Drip Irrigation

Surface Drip Irrigation is where water is applied and distributed over the soil surface by gravity. It is one of the oldest and most reliable irrigation methods used in agriculture. This method uses up to 25% less water than flooding irrigation, making it an efficient alternative to flooding your crops. Surface irrigation is best suited to flat land slopes and medium to fine textured soil types making it ideal for perennial trees and vines.

Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Subsurface Drip Irrigation is the uniform application of small quantities of water at frequent intervals below the soil surface. This is the most efficient irrigation method, reducing water usage by up to 40%. This style of drip irrigation is ideal for plants that require more soil moisture for production. These systems are also easily adaptable to uneven or irregular sized fields and hard to irrigate areas. Plants such as corn, cotton, tomatoes, and even lawn grass can benefit from this type of irrigation.

Misting Irrigation

Misting Irrigation is when very fine mist is emitted from overhead sprinklers, distributing needed moisture ideal for plant propagation and seed germination. Misting systems carry the benefit of fending off plant diseases, minimizing plant stress, and increasing growth rates. They also help establish the ideal greenhouse environment, keeping it cool, moist, humid, and consistent at all times. Misting irrigation systems have a number of suitable small- to large-scale applications.

Overhead Spinner Sprinklers

Overhead Spinner Sprinklers are mainly used for crops that tolerate wet foliage, overhead sprinklers employ pipes placed above the plants and fitted with nozzles that can be adjusted to varying spray ranges. These often use automatic controls, which offer time savings to the gardener who can tend to other tasks, but the system should be checked often to ensure it is working properly. Overhead sprinkler systems work well for watering small transplanted plants until they are ready to be placed in a garden or flower bed.

Successful management of your time and water resources is our goal at Gothic Arch Greenhouses. Call 1-800-531-4769 today to speak with an expert to assess and implement the perfect irrigation plan for your growing needs.