Drip irrigation feeds the hydroponic root bags with water and nutrients.

Drip irrigation feeds the hydroponic root bags with water and nutrients.

Hydroponic irrigation

New technology combining hydroponics and drip irrigation is being used to grow fruit trees, offering benefits to orchardists in water-starved regions. The Hydroponic Irrigation Adaption System or HIAS, has been patented by Jorge Labrador Agustin of Jormar Fruits, a Spanish company with 30 years of tree fruit experience in the Ebro Valley.

The system can be adapted to existing orchards or newly planted ones and works by feeding a tree root into a specialized hydroponic bag filled with substrates that sits on top of the ground near the base of the tree. Drip irrigation lines feed the root bag with water and nutrients. The tree keeps all of its roots, with the roots inside the bag providing the water and nutrient function.

HIAS was developed to significantly reduce water consumption in fruit tree irrigation, lower fertilizer inputs and costs, and reduce erosion and groundwater pollution from nutrient leaching, according to developer Labrador Agustin. Weed control is also reduced. Tree uniformity is improved because trees have the same root volume that is receiving the same amount of water, regardless of soil differences and changes in soil water-holding capacity.

Other benefits are that fruit trees can be grown in regions of poor soil, and there are fewer pest and disease problems associated with water or humidity, according to the Web site of Jormar Fruits.

“It is a tool for efficient management of the resources used in crops, such as water and fertilizer, and allows improvements in production and fruit quality,” said Labrador Agustin.

The new technology has been patented and is being marketed primarily in Mediterranean countries where water is scarce or of poor quality. The patent has been extended to several arid-climate countries, including Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, and South Africa. A patent is pending in Israel.

For more information, visit www.jormarfruits.es.

New Trellis herbicide

Dow AgroSciences has introduced Trellis GT herbicide as a  new preemergence herbicide for tree fruit, tree nuts, and grapes, that replaces an older Dow product called Gallery T & V.

Trellis provides residual activity on many winter and summer annual broadleaves while being safe for the crop, according to Dow. Some 90 weeds are controlled from the preemergent application, mostly broadleaves, including marestail, fleabane, malva, clover, morning glory, and more.

The active ingredient in Trellis, isoxaben, has been used in nonbearing orchards and vineyards in California under the trade name Gallery. Those vineyards and orchards have shown tolerance to isoxaben when applications were made at recommended growth stages, use rates, and application timings. Trellis has now replaced Gallery and is labeled for bearing and nonbearing grapes and nonbearing tree fruit. Trellis is not for use in New York.

The active ingredient is a member of the benzamide herbicide family, Group 21, according to the Weed Science Society of America. To learn more, contact your pest control advisor or visit Dow AgroScience’s Web site at www.dowagro.com.