How to avoid water stress in plants

The effect of drought on crops

One of the reasons that has led many farmers and gardeners to opt for the DeepDrop® localized and subway irrigation system is the effects of drought on trees and plantings. One of the most obvious consequences suffered by their plantations is water stress, which, in their case, also affects their production.

It is possible to reduce water stress

We have been accompanying farmers on their farms for some time, first to test the DeepDrop® irrigation system, and now to monitor its results. We also advise both new and existing customers on the installation and maintenance of the system. In turn, thanks to our customers, we obtain more and more information about the effects of your installation on their plantations. We are very grateful to all of them because their experience corroborates, among other things, that water stress is drastically reduced.

Those who have olive trees tell us, for example, that their olives stopped shriveling after implanting it. These wrinkles are a clear symptom of water stress. Others had their peach trees on the verge of dying from lack of water. In a month and a half, they saw more than regrowth of those trees they had thought were lost. These are some of the examples provided by our customers.

Subsurface drip irrigation promotes plant growth

As they explain in the study: “Water and salt stress in citrus. harm reduction strategies”. 2017 Miriam Núñez Vázquez, José Dell’Amico Rodríguez, María del C. Pérez Hernández1 and Mayda Betancourt Grandal, in relation to the process of water stress:

“Of all the resources necessary for plant growth and development, water is the most important and limiting. Water is the major component of plants, constituting 90% of the fresh mass in herbaceous species and more than 50% in woody species. Plants continuously absorb water through the roots and lose it through the leaves; however, absorption occurs as long as the water potential of the plant is more negative than the water potential of the soil; for when the internal water potential equals the external water potential, water absorption ceases and plants become dehydrated.”

In turn, the same article points out that: “Plant productivity is closely related to the amount of water available and the efficiency of its use. A plant that is capable of acquiring more water or that has a higher efficiency of its use, will resist drought better.”

Thus, the amount of water available is a crucial element for the development of plantations and their productivity. In this sense, as indicated in the article “…”.Determinants of soil available water during the last two decades (1997-2019) in southern Spain.In the 2021 edition of the “Water balance” by José A. Sillero-Medina, Jesús Rodrigo-Comino and José D. Ruiz-Sinoga, we must take into account how the water balance affects different and essential issues such as those described in this paragraph:

“Soil water balance has traditionally been used to estimate various soil hydrological parameters and can be fundamental to understanding the soil-plant-atmosphere relationships that underpin various hydrological issues. The spatio-temporal evolution of soil water conditions directly determines various natural conditions, such as the state and composition of the vegetation cover, vulnerability to erosive processes and the stability of soil aggregates. This is also fundamental to assess other phenomena, such as climate change and desertification, which are necessary to develop efficient water resource management plans.”

The same study indicates that, “plant available water can be defined as the amount of water retained in the soil, resulting from the difference between the field capacity (FC) and the permanent wilting point (PWP). This varies depending on soil characteristics, such as soil texture and structure. Both soil texture and structure affect the soil matrix potential linked to the water suction capacity of plants. This is directly modified by potential evapotranspiration.”

Thus, the relationship between soil and water, added to the phenological variations of a soil (i.e. the biological phenomena that occur periodically according to seasonal rhythms and are related to the climate and the annual course of atmospheric weather in a given place) are complex, but there is no doubt that plants and trees need a certain amount of water to avoid stress and to be able to grow in good conditions.

Avoiding Water Stress with the DeepDrop® Irrigation System

Although drought is a phenomenon that has always existed, now, with climate change, its periods are longer and the predictions invite us to make a rapid adaptation in the use of water for irrigation. And why do we focus so much on irrigation? Because between 70% of and 80% of freshwater is used for agriculture and another percentage for irrigation for gardening and tree planting in urban and suburban areas.

If we want to reduce the water stress of plants and trees, we must tend to irrigation systems that can be easily controlled and ensure that water is delivered to the subsoil and, especially, to the root system, in order to avoid water stress in plants. This is precisely what the DeepDrop® System does.

In turn, with our experience, we advise growers who ask us about DeepDrop® that it is preferable to make shorter and more frequent irrigations than to make only one irrigation per day, especially during the hottest months, precisely to avoid the damage of water stress during this time.

This is easy to understand. With the strong heat suffered in certain latitudes and in certain seasons, if only one watering a day is done in the morning, in the afternoon the plant will suffer due to the lack of water and the strong temperatures. Imagine if we could only drink once in the morning, by the afternoon we would be thirsty. It is for the same reason that DeepDrop® is committed to shorter and more frequent irrigations in the fields where it is used.

With the DeepDrop® irrigation system, water goes to the root system so no water is lost at the surface. In this way we realize substantial water savings. Regarding the drip irrigation system, which is one of the most efficient irrigation systems, farmers who have opted for DeepDrop® have achieved water savings of 40 to 70%. If we add to this, these short and more frequent irrigations, we help the tree to reduce even more the hydric stress it suffers, especially in the summer months.

With this irrigation system, we also contribute to achieving sustainable development objectives. In this case, we are referring to Objective 6: “Clean water and sanitation”, and more specifically to
Indicator 6.4.2: “Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawals in proportion to available freshwater resources.
“. It is a question of responsibility and ensuring food sovereignty for the future.

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