Posted on December 11 2019
One of the longest standing solutions for protecting your berry crops from frost is with overhead sprinkler irrigation. With sprinkler irrigation, your berry crops are coated in a thin layer of water. The protection comes from the constant application of water (which is warmer than 32 degrees F) and heat is released as the water turns to ice. When sprinkler irrigation used as frost protection is done properly, it allows you to control your crop temperatures on your own terms.
Properly utilizing overhead sprinkler irrigation as frost protection isn't as simple as turning on the sprinklers as the temperatures drop. Water volume is critical! 3/10th's of an inch of water per hour needs to be applied, and at a minimum of one sprinkler rotation per minute. This process needs to continue until the air temperature rises above 32 degrees F. If you turn off your sprinklers too soon, you could lose your entire crop. Debunking another myth about frost protection, while many feel that young plants or bushes are more susceptible to frost damage, this is not the case. The more mature the plant, the easier it is for your berries to be damaged by the cold. Understanding the critical temperatures for blueberry plants, for example, can help you to game plan your frost protection:
- Unopened blueberry buds are damaged at 21 degrees F
- Blueberry buds which have ruptured are damaged at 25 degrees F
- Fully opened blueberry flowers are damaged at 29 degrees F
- Fully formed blueberries are damaged at 30 degrees F
If you're looking to install, replace or repair your sprinkler irrigation for frost protection, we'd love to have you shop online with us for all of your irrigation needs. We also offer in-house design services, should you be looking for a turn-key solution for berry frost protection. Reach out to us today with any questions, comments or concerns, we'd love to visit with you!