Strawberries

How to use Micro-Sprinklers for Integrated Pest Management

Micro-sprinkler on strawberries #Micro-sprinklers have long been used to provide climate control and irrigate fruit, nut and cover crops. Now, micro-sprinklers can be used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) plan in row crops, as well. By placing a grid of micro-sprinklers above the crop and operating it a few times a week, dust is washed off the leaves and humidity is increased – suppressing harmful pests and encouraging beneficial insects. For example, mites and spider mites favor hot, dusty environments, whereas beneficial predatory insects, such as persimilis, thrive best where humidity levels are between 60 to 90 percent. By applying a light application of water to the crop several times a week, dust, mites and webbing are washed off while the resulting increased humidity encourages beneficial predator species. Continue reading

Reiter Berry Farms, Watsonville and UCCE, Monterey County, CA

Row crop growers were among the first farmers to adopt drip irrigation as a production tool rather than to save water. Initially, drip was viewed as a superior way to manipulate plant growth and quality by precisely managing water and fertilizer after germination or plant set. Sprinklers are commonly used to germinate vegetable seed or set vegetable transplants, and in some cases, are still used today to irrigate throughout the crop cycle. But with water, labor, energy, fumigation, organic, and food safety issues becoming more important each day, growers are finding that drip provides real solutions, and may be used for much more than just irrigation after plant establishment.

“With drip, I’m not applying water in-between the beds, so weed growth is greatly reduced. With sprinklers, weeds germinate everywhere and I am forced to hand weed, which is expensive,” says Frank Estrada, Area Manager for Reiter Berry Farms in Watsonville, California. “We stopped using sprinklers over three years ago for anything except pre-irrigation prior to bed prep.”
Continue reading