Effect of splitting drip irrigation on the depth and width of the wetted zone in a sandy soil

Bee Ling Poh, Eric H. Simonne, Robert C. Hochmuth, David W. Studstill


Splitting a long irrigation duration into several small events is expected to decrease the wetted depth while increasing the width as water moves sideways by capillarity during the irrigation interval. Irrigation treatments (all for a total of 4 h of irrigation or 96 gal/100 ft) were 1) four alternations of 1-h irrigation followed by 1-h waiting period [(1+1) × 4]; 2) a 2-h irrigation event followed by a 2-h waiting period followed by another 2-h irrigation event (2 + 2 + 2); 3) a 3-h irrigation event followed by 1-h waiting period followed by 1-h irrigation event (3 + 1 + 1); and 4) a continuous 4-h irrigation event (1 × 4). The response of wetted depth and width was nonsignificant (P = 0.10 and P = 0.42, respectively) and depth and width remained constant at 16.34 inches and 16.24 inches, respectively. These results do not contradict the need to split irrigation events longer than 2 h into multiple events of shorter durations. However, these results show that splitting irrigation with intervals of 1 to 2 h would not be effective in preventing water from moving out of the root zone.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283