Drip irrigation for establishment

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Sun Jan 31 14:40:38 EST 1999

In article <19990131001835.01112.00001155 at ng-ce1.aol.com>,
  treefmr at aol.com (Treefmr) wrote:
> Does any body have experience with low flow, low pressure (25psi, 1-2gph) drip
> irrigation systems for establishment of conifer seedlings in semi-arid,
> high-angle topography sites?  I am considering using it for remote sites
> utilizing a portable 500g tank and pump.  Looking forward to any and all
> responses,
> Regards,
> Scott Golden
> SilvaLogic

I don't know of any commercial growers considering what you appear to
suggest. I presume by *high-angle* you mean steep slope, and semi-arid needs
clarification: 1-2 gallons per hour may be insufficient to keep trees
growing. Also, a 500 gallon tank  would better serve such a site by gravity
feed, and would probably not need a pump, which would require some energy

Let's see: 500 gallons distributed between 100 trees would equal 5 gallons
delivered in 2-5 hours. That might be enough to get them started. How are you
going to keep the trees growing afterwards? As they increase in size, they're
going to need *a lot* more water than the tank will supply, and it doesn't
sound like you have any nearby aquafers for mycorrhizal fungi to tap into.
Without either water directly to the trees or via mycorrhizal fungi, you may
be shot out of the water before you begin. And if you don't have already
established trees of the same species near by, there may be little natural
dispersal of mycorrhizal fungi to seedlings to begin with. Of course, you
could disperse the mycorrhizal via a slurry in the tank, distributing the
spores to one and all. But you'd still have to keep the water flowing until
the mycorrhizal fungi could allow seedling survival: and who knows how long
that might take? 1 year? 3 years? 15 years?

Need a lot more information Scott. :( Soil porosity, soil humus content,
slope of site, nearby tree species and the species of what you intend to
plant seem important. Do you intent to create large sinks to establish the
trees initially, and fill them with organic material? And all of this seems
for naught if there is not enough annual rain fall or other water source
(fog, condensation, etc).

Daniel B. Wheeler

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