Garden strawberry is a moisture-loving plant. Its leaves contain 68-72% of water, and the berries themselves – 80-90%. The root system, which is located on the surface, is quite sensitive to even the slightest changes in ambient humidity. High and stable yields of strawberries are obtained only if the soil is evenly provided with moisture at the depth of the main mass of the root system – 0-40 cm.
Insufficient air and soil moisture during flowering has a bad effect on tying berries. During fruit growth – on their size and yield, and in the second half of the growing season – on the laying of flower buds. Accordingly, the plants need to be watered, to prevent a decrease in soil moisture not only to a critical but also to a satisfactory point. The berries need watering even during the rainy season. In particular, this applies when the berries are in the phases of flowering, harvesting, berry picking and bud differentiation.
The need for moisture at first increases; reaches a maximum during the harvest and then decreases at the end of the growing season. Irrigation during the spring regrowth of peduncles and in the phase of mass flowering leads to the increase in flowers and berries. Therefore, during the spring growth, soil moisture must be maintained at 70% moisture level (ML), during flowering – 75% (ML). Optimal moisture in the ripening phase of berries determines their size and yield. During the period of berry picking it is necessary to maintain a humidity of 80% (ML). Low soil moisture after harvesting delays the regrowth of horns and new generation of leaves, the plants weaken and bear fruit poorly next year. However, differentiation of flower buds is delayed at high humidity after harvesting the berries. Therefore, the optimal soil moisture during this period should be at 60% (ML).
In addition to soil drought, atmospheric drought also has a negative effect on the strawberry crop. If the air temperature is kept in the range of 28 – 30 ºC, in addition to the main watering, you need to conduct refreshing watering.
Different methods are used for watering garden strawberries, but the main ones are sprinkling and drip irrigation.
Drip irrigation is one of the promising ways to water strawberry plantations, it is convenient and easy to operate, does not require complex repairs. Irrigation water is fed directly to the root layer of the soil through a system of pipes, which allows to reduce irrigation rates by 2-3 times compared to sprinkling. Due to this, the arable layer of the soil can be constantly maintained in a moist state at the level of capillary moisture capacity, while the rows remain dry, which helps to reduce the number of weeds. There is no loss of water to evaporate from the free surface; there is no formation of soil crust and destruction of soil structure.
The conditions of agrotechnics of all field works are also improved: the possibility of watering and mechanized cultivation is created at the same time, labor costs are reduced, significant savings in energy and water consumption up to 60%, there is a possibility of economical fertilizer application together with irrigation water, the crop yield is increased, the crop quality is improved.