DRIP IRRIGATION FOR BLUEBERRY

Botanical and cultivation classification 

Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) is a shrub belonging to the family Ericaceae. The plant is characterised by an upright posture and an expanded and superficial root apparatus; the fruits are globous berries of blue-violet colour covered with a pruinose layer that makes the colour more opaque. The taste is sweet-sour, more or less aromatic.

Pedoclimatic Requirements

In the open field, blueberry prefers shallow soils (30-40 cm) that are well drained and rich in organic matter. As an acidophilic plant, it is particularly demanding for the reaction of the soil: the optimal pH for cultivation must be between 4 and 4.5.

Values above 5.5-6 adversely affect the vegetative-productive development of the plants, with widespread yellowing and abnormal colouring on the leaves and severe reductions in yield. From a climatic point of view, the blueberry shows a high resistance to cold. In autumn, during the lignification processes, it can even withstand -30°C.

However, in order to favour the processes of flower induction, flowering, fruit set and, above all the ripening and sugar accumulation in the fruit, medium-high temperatures combined with good foliage lighting are essential.

Irrigation system for Blueberry

For the cultivation of small fruits and blueberries in particular, it is essential to consider a highly efficient irrigation system that ensures uniform irrigation volumes for each individual plant throughout the vegetative-productive season; this is the only way that satisfactory production be achieved over the years.

Irritec offers different solutions based on the company’s cultivation methods and requirements: for soil cultivation, for example, a dripline laid on the ground along the row is suggested in order to moisten the portion of soil covered by the plants in a uniform and localised way.

The choice of single or double drip line per row, drip head flow rates and the spacing between drip points depends essentially on the planting layout and the nature of the soil.

For the most common soilless cultivations, however, we recommend an even more localised drip system based on iDrop type online drip heads with the anti-drip Drop Stop system, installed on a PE sidewall which, through special manifolds (multiplier fittings), micro-tubes and rods, bring water directly into one or more cultivation vessels close to each other.

Again, the flow rates and the number of drip heads per plant depend on the volume of the pot and the type of substrate used. In any case, it is advisable to use white tubes, microtubes and rods in order to reduce the overheating of the water and of the nutrient solution supplied, which is inevitable in covered systems.

Whether it is soil or soilless cultivation, it is very important to adopt optimal water-nutrition management: the blueberry is very sensitive to both excesses and shortages of water, taking advantage of ad-hoc fertilisations at each phenological stage which always take into account maintaining the substrate within the acidity thresholds indicated above.

If these aspects are not properly observed, the balance of vegetation and production will be altered in a way that will not allow the desired objectives to be achieved.

Fertigation and automation

With regard to soilless cultivation systems, it is essential to use a fertigation system that allows control of the two main parameters of irrigation water, pH and EC, and, above all, to keep their values within the desired range even when fertilisers are fed to the plant.

Irritec’s solution is based on the Shaker PRO and Shaker SET fertigation benches, designed to meet the fertigation needs of crops in the most professional way possible. Depending on the flow rate of the irrigation system, both fertigators can be installed in-line or in bypass, with the possibility of dosing fertilisers to pH and EC targets and, for Shaker PRO, also proportionally to the pipeline flow rate.

The integrated Commander EVO® GOLD programmer also allows automation of the entire irrigation system, making it possible to simultaneously manage the opening and closing of the solenoid valves in the field, the backwashing of the filters (up to 10 filter elements at a time) and the fertigation operations.

The possible connection to the radio control system (Evo Radio System) offers an additional application, namely remote valve actuation (wireless system), which allows the centralised management of farms with irrigation sectors that are distant from the company centre, or even non contiguous and distant from each other.

Blueberry growing and irrigation

A practical example of how to drip irrigate blueberry:

Irrigation System Blueberry

Here are the Irritec products you need to drip irrigate blueberry

1

IDROP®

The iDrop line® consists of online turbulent flow drip heads which are suitable for orchards, vineyards, nurseries, greenhouses and all situations where it is necessary to distribute water and fertilisers precisely. The turbulent flow of the labyrinth makes the iDrop® line ideal against clogging and as a result requires very little maintenance. Functional quality, ease of installation in countless possible combinations and low costs are the main characteristics. Available in normal, self-compensating, Drop Stop, standard or multi-function outputs, the iDrop ® line is suitable for a wide range of agricultural and business conditions.

Irrigation idrop system blueberry

2

LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE TUBING

The low density irrigation pipe is produced with state-of-theart equipment, using selected special resins that are highly resistant to chemicals and weathering. Due to its high resistance to mechanical stress, it is particularly suitable for side branches and withstands deformations caused by the assembly of hose couplings very well.

Pipes for irrigation blueberry Irritec - Low density tubing

3

PLASTIC AUTOMATIC FILTERS

The Rotodisk® Automatic filter is a fibreglass-reinforced polyamide filter with a special mechanical-hydraulic system for automatic backwashing. Conveniently installed in series using hydro-valves and a control unit, they make it possible to maintain the continuity of the irrigation cycle and reduce water waste and the labour required to maintain a filtering station.

filters for irrigation blueberry - Irritec

4

FERTIGATION

Irritec® fertigation systems combine practicality and reliability with a modern nutrient injection system. Fertiliser management is regulated by simple fertigation recipes that can be set according to agronomic and nutritional requirements. Proper water management, which is essential to deliver the right nutrition to the plants, is ensured by years of experience in sizing machines and equipment, and the use of reliable and certified materials.

Fertigation System for Blueberry - Irritec

5

AUTOMATION

Irritec® automation systems, such as the Commander EVO® and Commander NPK® programmers, meet the irrigation needs of farms of all sizes, combining pH and electrical conductivity management with a more professional approach to irrigation scheduling. They are also equipped with radio remote controls, managed via software with internet access.

Blueberry Smart Irrigation System Commander - Irritec

Discover how to irrigate others crops

Irritec wants to make life easier for those who take care of the plants, for work and for passion. We aim to ensure that every drop is spent as well as possible, minimizing the ecological footprint.

Agronomic Irritec Team support the farmer also on after-sale and installation, with continuous assistance and efficiency control. Continuous attention to the customer needs to provide succesful and sustainable solution with an efficience service.