Irrigation systems: Ebb and flow system versus water booms

Irrigation systems: Ebb and flow system versus water booms

Irrigation systems: Ebb and flow system versus water booms

Aug 29, 2023 2:49:57 PM

Choosing the right irrigation system is crucial to deliver consistent and good product quality. There are numerous choices in this regard; ebb and flow systems and water boom systems, among others, are commonly used. We will highlight the main differences between these two watering systems.

1. Which irrigation system wastes the least amount of water?

Both ebb and flow systems and water booms can lead to wasted water. In ebb and flow systems, the whole floor where plants grow gets filled with water, which can lead to water evaporating. On the other hand, water booms also have waste. This happens because water goes next to the plant pots. Moreover, the plants and the soil get wet, allowing for more evaporation. Also, runoff water is wasted unless you have a floor that can collect excess runoff of water. So, when using water booms, more water tends to be lost compared to using an ebb and flow system.

2. Which irrigation system provides the best plant quality?

When using overhead watering, like with water booms, the plants get wet. Some plants actually benefit from this because they need higher humidity or occasional overhead watering. This helps them keep their pores open, removes dust, and more.

However, having wet plants also has downsides. It can lead to more diseases and fungal issues and harm the plants. For instance, overhead watering might damage flowers. That's why certain plants, like phalaenopsis orchids, choose to water from below in the final growth phase, often using systems like ebb and flow. This method avoids the issues mentioned earlier and improves the plant's quality.

3. Which method provides the most targeted watering?

Nowadays, watering plants has become very high-tech. Various aspects like the water amount, how fast, and the pressure can be controlled using programming. You can even set how much water should go to a particular area of a greenhouse or section. This works great for growers with different plant types because each type gets the exact water it requires.

However, it's different with an ebb and flow system. In that setup, the entire section gets filled with water, and you can't control the water amount for each specific type of plant individually.

4. Which irrigation system is the cheapest?

Water booms come with a lower initial cost than an ebb-and-flow system, but watering can still be relatively pricey. The investment needed varies based on factors like the kind of plants being watered, the number of water booms in the greenhouse, and how the watering setup is arranged.

The upside, though, is that water booms are versatile. They can serve multiple purposes, like helping with protecting the plants from pests and diseases. This additional functionality increases the likelihood of such a system being economically beneficial.

5. What types of crops fit the different systems?

Water booms are particularly useful in operations with a wide variety of crops because they allow precise watering for each type of plant. However, they're also employed in operations with fewer variations, especially during the initial growth phase of cultivation. When a plant is just starting, its roots aren't spread throughout the entire pot, so watering from the top provides better root access.

Later on, the ebb and flow system is often introduced to avoid the earlier-mentioned problems with plant quality. Simply put, the combination of boom watering and ebb and flow systems works well together, complementing each other.

The ebb and flow method is also great for flowering potted and garden plants like roses. As mentioned earlier, watering from below lowers the risk of diseases since the leaves don't get wet. Diseases affecting the leaves, especially in roses, can be a significant issue.

Moreover, this system is well-suited for plants and trees with larger canopies. Other watering methods often struggle to ensure they deliver sufficient moisture.

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