Chapter 13

Micro-irrigation Systems for Vineyards

Maintenance of Micro-irrigation Systems

Maintenance of the drip irrigation systems requires maintenance to continue operating at maximum efficiency. Factors that can slow or stop flow through the drip system include: suspended material, chemical precipitation, and biological growth, which may require water treatment and a systematic program for regular maintenance.

Filter Maintenance

Filters are the first line of protection for your drip system, and they need regular maintenance to operate at a high level.

Screen Filters

Regular cleaning of screen filters is very important. If they are neglected, a portion of the screening element will become caked and clogged, forcing water through a smaller area. This can push debris through the screening element and under extreme conditions rupture it.

Sand Media Filters

As the media fills with particulate matter, the pressure drop across the media tank increases, forcing water through smaller and fewer channels. This will eventually disable a media filter, requiring that clean water from one tank be routed backwards through the dirty tank to clean the media. Typically media filters should be backflushed when the pressure drop across the filter reaches about 10 psi or as recommended by the manufacturer. During the backwash process, the direction of the water reverses through the sand bed.

Line Flushing

The main lines, submains, and particularly the lateral lines should be flushed periodically to ensure sediments are cleared from the system, which can cause a potential hazard by clogging emitters. Main lines and submains are flushed by opening the flush valve(s) built into the system for that purpose.

Chemical Treatment

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