Strawberry Irrigation Basic Planning Tips

Strawberry Irrigation Basic Planning Tips


Stawberry Irrigation

Basic Planning Tips

Growing Strawberries on both large and small scales has become popular in Canada and continues to be one of the most common crops requiring drip irrigation.  Planning a Strawberry Drip Irrigation System is not much different from planning any Drip Irrigation System.  The basic steps are the same and relatively easy to do, but necessary for your Vineyard watering system to work efficiently.

Step 1: Put It On Paper!: You know what your layout will look like, but it always helps to illustrate the Strawberry garden layout on paper as a first step. From this you will easily be able to calculate and document the following critical facts:

  • Water Source and Distance from Water Source to Vineyard
  • Number of Rows and Length of Rows (to calculate total drip line required)
  • Distance Between Rows in the Strawberry field
  • Number of total plants (to calculate number of emitters and water consumption)

This is the basic information needed to get started. 

Water Source

As with all Drip Irrigation Systems one of the most important components of information needed is your Water Source capacity and pressure.  The amount of water and pressure you have available is critical to the design of the Strawberry Irrigation system   The flow rate and pressure available will help to determine how many plants you can water at any one time and how many zones you may require.  The following information will assume an existing water supply with set or municipal pressure. 

Flow Rate: The easiest and most tried and true method for measuring your flow rate is the 5 gallon bucket method.  Simply fill a 5 gallon (19 Litre) bucket with your outdoor faucet or water outlet and record the time it takes to fill.  You can then calculate the flow rate based on your results.  The following is an example.

Example 1: 45 Seconds to Fill: To Calculate the flow rate you divide 60 Seconds by 45 Seconds and Multiply by 5.

Flow Rate = 60 / 45 x 5 = 6.67 Gallons Per Minute or 400 Gallons Per Hour ( 60 Minutes x 6.67 Gallons Per Minute )

Example 2: 90 Seconds To Fill:

Flow Rate = 60 / 90 x 5 = 3.33 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) or 200 Gallons Per Hour (GPH)

Pressure: Calculating pressure requires the use of a pressure gauge or an approximation of municipal pressure.  If using a pump, you may be able to dictate pressure precisely.  Pressure decrease over distance travelled in all tubing materials and the decrease increases as the size of your tubing decreases.  In addition to the static pressure loss there may also be dynamic pressure loss which is the pressure lost from emitter output down the drip line.  Below is a basic chart of pressure loss for both Poly and PVC tubing.

Poly Tubing Max. Flow GPM (GPH) PSI Loss/100ft Sch 40 PVC Max. Flow GPM (GPH) PSI Loss/100ft
1/2" 4.6 (276) 8.8 1/2" 4.6 (276) 7.7
3/4" 8.2 (492) 6.3 3/4" 8.2 (492) 5.6
1" 13.4 (804) 4.8 1" 13.4 (804) 4.2
1 1/4" 23 (1380) 3.1 1 1/4" 23 (1380) 3.1
1 1/2" 33.8 (2028) 2.9 1 1/2" 33.8 (2028) 2.9
2" 52.3 (3138) 1.9 2" 52.3 (3138) 1.9
 

As most Drip Emitters and Drip Emitter Tubing operate between 10 to 60 psi there is usually a wide range to work with but pressure loss must be considered, especially if travelling a long distance between the water source and the start of your Drip Irrigation System. The general rule of thumb is to start bigger to avoid pressure loss issues.

You are now ready to apply this information to your Vineyard Watering System.

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