Drip irrigation in the Stan Clarke Vineyard

New season house keeping of the irrigation lines - making sure there is no debris inside the line.
New season house keeping of the irrigation lines – making sure there is no debris inside the line.

Eastern Washington finally received enough precipitation in March to reach average levels for that month – but the previous five or six months were very low which put us at a deficit for water at the beginning of this season.  We were anticipating some rainfall, the internet resources actually concurred with this belief, so we put down prilled fertilizer.  ‘Prilled’ means it is coated for slow release.

Closing off the end of each row once the lines are clear.
Closing off the end of each row once the lines are clear.

Alas, we didn’t receive the precipitation which meant the fertilizer would be exposed to the sun causing costly damage and a need to reapply it.  Drip irrigation is standard here in our region.  Some of the most modern technology has the drip system beneath the surface, within the root zone, in a few of the local commercial vineyards.  We have a wire-tied, above surface system in the Stan Clarke Vineyard.  To expedite the fertilizer absorption we spent some of our lab time reconnecting the drip system and checking each emitter’s functionality, replacing where needed, and leaving the water on.  It was mid-seventies, sunny with minimal breeze – what a day to play in the sprinklers!

Faulty drip emitter, water shouldn't be squiring out the side.
Faulty drip emitter, water shouldn’t be squirting out the side.
Drip emitter working correctly - dripping straight down, beside the grape vine - that is prilled fertilizer.
Drip emitter working correctly – dripping straight down, beside the grape-vine – that is prilled fertilizer.

 

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