Drip Tape Plugging

Cameron Huntley - Monday, November 15, 2010
Drip Tape Plugging

As more vegetable growers try to get extra seasons out of their drip tape and plastic mulch, they have more problems with drip tape plugging. There are many causes to drip tape plugging, including sand or debris as well as organic slimes. The combination of the two is like brick and mortar and sure to clog the emitters. The organic slimes including algae are most common when using surface water as an irrigation source. When using drip tape for 2 or more growing seasons, even good well water will allow organic slime to build in the piping and drip tape over time.

Filters will solve the sand and debris problem, but the organic slimes, including algae and iron bacteria, grow in the piping and drip tape down stream of the filter. If your emitters have started to plug with organic slimes, they can be cleaned by injecting Di-Oxy Flush by Flo-Tec, Inc. The best way to know if you are starting to have tape plugging is by installing and monitoring a flow meter. Otherwise, you will know you have problems when your crop starts to wilt, but by then, you have suffered a major loss of production.

Flo-Tec manufactures a preventative product called Matrix II to be injected on a continual basis to prevent organic build up.

Flo-Tec products are safe for the plants and are designed to meet the needs of your specific water source. For the best and the most economical results, contact W.P. Law Inc.,a Flo-Tec Certified Dealer, to test your water source and recommend a product and injection rate. Organic growers, be sure to ask about OMRI  listed Di-Oxy Solv.

Some growers do not want to spend the extra money to inject maintenance products, but these are certainly more economical than the alternative.
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