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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1268: XI International Symposium on Protected Cultivation in Mild Winter Climates and I International Symposium on Nettings and Screens in Horticulture

Influence of the irrigation pipe color in the temperature of the irrigation water solutions within a greenhouse

Authors:   M. Parra, D. Hortelano, T. Munuera, D.S. Intrigliolo
Keywords:   white PE pipeline, thermocouples, anti-drainage emitters, water temperature, root zone
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1268.9
In southeastern Spain, one of the main areas for growing tomatoes in greenhouses, transplanting of tomato seedlings usually takes place at the end of July or August, when air temperatures can exceed 40C at midday. In this area, substrate cultivation is a common practice and the seedlings are initially placed in small blocks of rock wool or coconut fiber, where the volume of substrate is very limited. Under these conditions, a high temperature of the irrigation solution could cause the appearance of fungal diseases that cause the death of the plant or delays in growth. Some manufacturers of irrigation systems indicate that the use of white pipes can reduce the temperature of the water up to 8C even though there have not been found scientific studies in the bibliography that confirm such claims. From April to December 2018, an experiment in a greenhouse located in Murcia was carried out to check if there would be variations in the temperature of the nutrient solution when using a white pipe compared to a conventional black one. Water solutions temperature were determined continuously using type T thermocouples placed inside the irrigation pipe with anti-drainage emitters. In April, with watering scheduled at 12:00 pm and mean temperatures inside the greenhouse of 30C, differences of up to 10 were found 3 min after irrigation started (33C inside black pipe vs. 23C inside the white one). However, in August, when the mean temperature inside the greenhouse was 35.5C, with 5-min irrigations scheduled at 2-h intervals from 8 am to 5 pm, the maximum water temperature differences found were 2.3C. The results demonstrate that the use of the plastic pipe color can significantly affect the irrigation water temperature within a greenhouse farming system.

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