How To Fertilize Through A Drip Irrigation System

Learning how to fertilize through a drip irrigation system is quite simple, but it involves understanding what fertilizer to use and incorporating it in the injector. This process is also called fertigation and offers many benefits for different production systems. More so, fertilizing itself would be more comfortable through irrigation water, given that you understand how a drip irrigation system works

With proper knowledge in fertigation, you can take advantage of faster water and nutrient uptake. You can also be more efficient in using water and fertilizers. If you’re using a greenhouse instead of an outdoor garden, you may also find fertigation more beneficial for your plant management. 

 

How To Fertilize Through A Drip Irrigation System

How To Fertilize Through A Drip Irrigation System Correctly

 

Step #1. Know what fertilizer to use

As one can assume, the proper fertilizer for a drip irrigation system is water-soluble. You will then incorporate a fertilizer injector into the drip irrigation system, which will then disperse the fertilizer for you. This way, you can control both the watering and fertilizing in one system. 

 

How to avoid clogging

However, do note that you want to avoid clogging the drip emitters with the water-soluble fertilizer. To do this, filter the downstream of the fertilizing unit and use a product that mixes well with water. Remember that a poorly dissolved solution will clog the emitters because the particles will stay in suspension. 

Some other common fertilizer mistakes to avoid are combining chemicals and fertilizers. This can cause residues, which will eventually plug the emitters of the system. You also want to dilute the fertilizer concentration that would suffice one irrigation cycle. 

 

How to avoid backflow

More so, add something upward to the unit’s stream because a common problem with fertigation is when the fertilizer backflows into the water source. Ensure that you check your device to avoid any issues. Some areas also have laws about the placement of a backflow prevention device.

 

Step #2. Incorporate fertilizer into the drip irrigation system

The next step is incorporating the fertilizer into the drip irrigation system. You want to check the emitter at a great distance from the pump so that it’s at full pressure. This way, you won’t face problems with the injection from a poorly pressurized drip irrigation system. 

 

Backflow prevention device and filters

As mentioned earlier, you want to guarantee that no particles will clog the emitters, and you may need to add a backflow prevention device. For the filter itself, consider your injector type and water source to choose the appropriate one and place it between the injector and water source. Another filter is also necessary between the laterals and the injector to keep particles from potentially clogging the emitters. 

 

How to ensure equal fertilization and prevent clogged drip lines

Once you have all those parts secured, you must allow the system to reach full pressure by injecting the fertilizer. The emphasis is necessary on ensuring that the drip irrigation system is at full pressure because you want each emitter to be in conjunction with each other. This way, you can ensure equal fertilizer distribution throughout the drip irrigation system. 

After the injection, clean the irrigation system thoroughly. Failure to flush the nutrients in the system can clog the drip lines. 

 

Common Injectors For Fertilizing Through A Drip Irrigation System

In general, fertilizing through a drip irrigation system is as straightforward as adding fertilizer injectors to the drip head assembly. This makes fertigation an excellent option for commercial growers and even those who are growing in the greenhouse. There are two common types of injectors that you can use for a drip irrigation system. 

The first type is an injector that you add to the drip head, which draws the fertilizer for you and injects it into the irrigation system at a concentration. On the other hand, you can also use T and Y filters as injectors and add pellets into them, which will dissolve and enter the system. Both injectors are easy to use as long as you follow the instructions, know your fertilizer, and check their compatibility with your system. 

 

Other Fertilizing Methods For Drip Systems And What Won’t Work

Some growers do not rely on drip irrigation to fertilize. Instead, they place time-release fertilizer under each emitter or side-dress between the emitter and the plant with a soluble fertilizer. The central concept here is to guarantee that the fertilizer will reach the plant roots and get into the emitters’ wet zone. 

Therefore, you can’t sprinkle dry fertilizer on the soil surface or use a hose to feed with liquid fertilizer. Using manure and other mulch won’t also work because it is underneath it and won’t create a wet zone to bring the nutrients into the soil. 

 

Conclusion

Fertigation or using a drip irrigation system to fertilize is an excellent way to conserve fertilizer and water and ensure faster uptake of both with your plants. Learning how to fertilize through a drip irrigation system is also something you shouldn’t get intimidated by as long as you understand the two subjects this article has discussed. 

First, understand that a water-soluble fertilizer that readily dissolves in water is crucial to prevent clogging in the system. Second, you want to add filters and a backflow prevention device to anticipate common problems with fertigation such as blocking and backflow of fertilizer. And lastly, you must use the system in full pressure to ensure equal fertilizer distribution. 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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