Improving Strawberry Irrigation with Micro-Sprinklers and Their Impact on Pest Management
Overhead aluminum sprinklers, which are used during the early stages of strawberry crop development to establish transplants and to leach out salts from the root zone, deliver significant volumes of water. Micro-sprinklers, which are typically used in orchard crops, were evaluated in a commercial strawberry field in California as an alternative to conventional aluminum sprinklers to conserve water without any negative impact on yields. In addition to the water consumption, data were collected from multiple plots within each treatment to determine the impact on plant growth, disease incidence, and seasonal yield. Micro-sprinklers used 32% less water than aluminum sprinklers during a three-week period without affecting fruit yield. They also appeared to lessen the severity of powdery mildew and botrytis fruit rot. This is the first study reporting the use of micro-sprinkler system, which can be a good alternative to the aluminum sprinklers to conserve irrigation water.