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Determining Irrigation Requirements
Source:rember chen | Author:cynthia | Publish time: 2017-09-08 | 1931 Views | Share:
Q: “How much water has to be applied to the plant material?”and “How often and how long does the system need to run?”
A: A number of factors need to be examined.The local climate is one of the main factors that influences how much water is needed to maintain good plant growth. The plant water requirement includes the water lost by evaporation into the atmosphere from the soil and soil surface, and by transpiration, which is the amount of water used by the plant. The combination of these is evapotranspiration (ET).
ETo stands for reference evapotranspiration, which is the maximum average rate of water use for plants in a given climate. Reference evapotranspiration is multiplied by a crop coefficient to obtain the ET rate for a specific plant or turf. 

The soil type on the project site is a factor in determining how fast and how often water can be applied to the plant material.

Soil absorbs and holds water in much the same way as a sponge. A given texture and volume of soil will hold a given amount of moisture. The intake rate of the soil will
influence the precipitation rate and type of sprinkler that can be utilized. The ability of soil to hold moisture, and the amount of moisture it can hold, will greatly affect the irrigation operational schedule. Soil is made up of sand, silt and clay particles. The percentage of each of these three particles is what determines the actual soil texture. Because the percentage of any one of these three particles can differ, there is virtually an unlimited number of soil types possible.

The lists the general characteristics of the three main soil types.

One of the most significant differences between different soil types is the way in which they absorb and hold water.

Capillary action is the primary force in spreading water horizontally through the soil. Both gravity and capillary action influence vertical movement of water.

In coarser soils, water is more likely to be absorbed vertically, but will not spread very far horizontally. The opposite is true for finer soils.