Chapter 13

Micro-Irrigation Systems for Vineyards

(book excerpts)

Micro-Irrigation is arguably the most efficient form of irrigation for vineyards, because there is minimal runoff and evaporation; water and nutrients are applied directly to the root zone. Irrigation scheduling can be managed precisely to meet grapevine demands, holding the promise of increased yield and fruit quality. Emitters evenly spaced on the tubing ensure that water is distributed uniformly to each plant. The emission device, its flow rate and spacing, depends on the age of the vines being grown and the soil texture. Micro-irrigation is known for its flexibility. Each system is custom designed to fit the needs of the vineyard, in order to maintain optimum moisture at the plant root zone. Since they apply water directly to a plant’s roots, a minimal amount of water is wasted, and drip systems can operate at up to 95 percent uniformity. These systems are therefore perfect for drought plagued areas. Micro-irrigation reduces water contact with grapevines leaves, stems, and berries. Thus, conditions may be less favorable for disease development. Drip irrigation systems may be convenient during harvest, because they can run while grapes are being picked. Moreover, these systems can last as long as twenty years, if they are properly maintained. Unfortunately, these systems do require a lot of maintenance; they can be damaged easily as well. Since drip emitters are so small, they are susceptible to clogging, even at mineral concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm, and it is necessary to analyze and treat the water that is going into the system. Identifying emitters that are clogged can also prove difficult and time consuming. These systems should be flushed periodically, their filters need to be cleaned frequently, and pressure gauges should be checked regularly to make sure the system is running correctly and there is no buildup. The drip tape is susceptible to damage from for example installation equipment, tillage equipment, insects, birds, rodents, excessive pressure, and direct sunlight. Micro-irrigation is also referred to as drip or trickle irrigation.

Click on the following topics for more information on micro-irrigation systems for vineyards.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Micro-Irrigation System Components
  • Pumping Station
  • Deep-Well Vertical Turbine Pumps
  • Submersible Pumps
  • Power Units for Pumping
  • Control Systems
  • Sequential Operation
  • Partial Automation
  • Full Automation
  • Filtration Systems
  • Centrifugal Sand Separators
  • Sand Media Filters
  • Disc Filters
  • Screen Filters
  • Main, Submain, Manifolds, and Laterals
  • Main and Submain Lines
  • Manifolds
  • Laterals
  • Flow Control Devices
  • Valves
  • Water Flow Meters
  • Pressure Gauges
  • Fertigation-Chemigation Systems
  • Emitters
  • Line-Source Emitters
  • Micro-Sprinklers
  • Point-Source Emitters
  • Water Quality for Micro-Irrigation Systems
  • Water Quality Analysis
  • Physical Properties
  • Chemical Properties
  • Calcium Carbonate (lime scale)
  • Iron and Manganese
  • Biological Properties
  • Maintenance of Micro-Irrigation Systems
  • Filter Maintenance
  • Screen Filters
  • Sand Media Filters
  • Flushing the Main Lines, Submains, and Laterals
  • Chemical Injection for System Maintenance
  • Chlorination Treatment
  • Acid Treatment
  • Groundwater Wells
  • Well Drilling
  • Well Design
  • Well Pump
  • Well Casing
  • Well Screen
  • Gravel Pack
  • Water Development
  • Water Testing
  • Selecting a Well Pump
  • Estimating Total Irrigation Flow Rate
  • Total Dynamic Head
  • Static Head
  • Well Drawdown
  • Operating Head
  • Friction Loss
  • Velocity Head
  • Suction Head
  • Reading a Pump Curve
  • Selected References