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How to prevent drought in greenhouses?

Droogte in de kas voorkomen
Written by Han van der Kooij | Laatst geupdate: 28-05-2019

The summer of 2018 was one of the hottest summers in The Netherlands with 765 hours of sunshine compared to an average of 608 hours. It was also a very dry summer, with only 105 mm of rainfall, while on average 225 mm of rainfall is measured. Global warming will make dry and sunny summers more common. This drought has big consequences for greenhouses. For example, the water basin can become empty, which can have major consequences for your crop. That is why it is important to switch in time, so that the risk of a water shortage is limited as much as possible. Besides the planning of the water amount, other aspects are important during the summer. In this article our specialists explain different steps to take before ánd during the dry summers.

Optimal water management

By optimizing the water system, the efficiency of water consumption can be increased. This can be accomplished in several ways.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, to anticipate dry and sunny periods.
  • Build an underground fresh water buffer. Research shows that an underground storage tank of fresh water can save up to 15% of costs compared to an aboveground storage tank.
  • Pay attention to any leaks in the water and recirculation system.
  • When switching to a different water source, the quality, contamination and residues of plant protection products must first be considered. Disinfect the water when necessary.

Water sources

The availability of water is not always easy to control, also in times of drought. If you unexpectedly experience water shortage, it is possible to switch to another water source.
  • Rainwater
  • Tap water
  • Surface water
  • Drain water
  • Osmosis water

What is the best alternative water source?

Unfortunately, there is no answer for the best alternative. The source with the highest availability and the best quality has to be considered in this decision.

Optimize water absorption

Besides an optimal water system and alternative water sources, you can profit from water absorption in the field.
The product ‘AquaGro L’ has been specially developed for optimal water distribution in substrates to secure the equal distribution of water in the substrates. ‘AquaGro L’ has many advantages:
  • Plants absorb water and nutrients faster.
  • Water is optimally distributed in the substrate, no ‘dry spots’ are created in the substrates. Also dried substrate is quickly rewetted again.
  • Nutrients dissolved in water distribute evenly.
  • Although the substrate is optimally wetted, it has no negative effect on the air balance in the substrate. That creates an ideal water / air ratio.
  • Plants that are transported with a full water uptake can withstand the transportation period much better. Besides that, the plants recover faster if they are watered again after transport.
  • Rockwool substrate can be re-moistened completely after drying, even if there are already drainage slots in the cover. Substrate drainage is improved.
  • Substrates don’t easily get "too wet".
By applying ‘AquaGro L’, plants absorb more nutrients and water. This ensures that plants can make optimal use of this irrigation water. An ideal balance between water and air is realized, which is an advantage for the roots of the plant.

Related products

Application in substrate

AquaGro L creates a kind of film layer on the water repellent parts of the substrate. This makes the substrate more susceptible to water and makes it easy to (re)moisten. This prevents the spot dryness of potting soil or substrates of young plants. By using AquaGro L the drainage of the substrate is improved. Due to the uniform and optimal water distribution, the substrate doesn’t becomes "too wet" easily. The water is distributed evenly in the substrate vertically as well horizontally. This also ensures that the dissolved nutrients (fertilizers) are evenly distributed throughout the substrate in the water. This way the plant always has the optimal use of the nutrients.

As a result, the use of AquaGro L leads to an improved quality for the plants. This also ensures that the plants can be transported and still look fresh at the final destination.
In potting soil factories, a water absorption improver is already added during the production process. The effect can be extended by regular use.

Video AquaGro L 

Application in rockwool

Rockwool is made of volcanic stones. AquaGro L reacts differently to rockwool than to other substrates. Dry Rockwool can be re-moistened with AquaGro L. This way, the rockwool can last several seasons. The video below shows that the plant absorbs water and fertilizers faster, so the plant stands straight sooner and longer. Without AquaGro L, the plant will be weaker. Besides that the use of fertilizers and nutrients is optimized, because the plant absorbs more.

Drip systems

A narrow moisture cone often forms where the dripper goes into the substrate. By adding AquaGro L, the water is optimally distributed, so that this cone will increase. The roots have a considerably larger surface area where they can have an optimal water storage and nutrient concentration.
Are you ready for summer? Do our summer check!

More information about drought?

Do you have questions about drought prevention, or would you like to have some custom made advice? Please contact one of our product specialists Han van der Kooij by using the form below. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Han van der KooijAbout Han van der Kooij

Han van der Kooij, fertiliser product specialist at Royal Brinkman, understands the customer like no one else. After being a grower himself, for 26 years, he knows the ropes and is aware of what is involved in being a grower. Converting his own knowledge and experience into recommendations that are useful to growers, is what he likes best about his job. "Finding that this leads to good results, makes me quite satisfied."

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