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Prolonged drought: Focus on irrigation

19 Nov 2019

Irrigation control by Gardena © Gardena

Irrigation control by Gardena © Gardena

After the drought summer last year, it has also been extraordinarily dry in many regions this spring. Hence, devices and automatic systems for irrigating the garden are particularly coming under focus in 2020.

Significant increase in turnover

This year the winter seems to have directly turned into the summer. There were already temperatures of up to 28 degrees in April and it was unusually dry. In the face of the lacking rain, products revolving around the theme water in the garden are currently booming. In this way, according to the IFH Cologne this commodity group experienced a significant 5.9 percent increase in turnover last year. In 2018, products from the garden irrigation segment achieved a rise in turnover of around eight percent compared to the previous year. "Should the temperatures in Germany stabilise at this high level, this development will also be ongoing in the future and the theme water in the garden will become increasingly more important," stated George Brown, Technical Officer of the Garden Industry Association e.V. (IVG).

On trend in 2020: Smart devices

Prolonged periods of drought and strong sunshine make life particularly difficult for plants. Modern irrigation systems provide the greenery with precisely the right amount of water at the right time. Smart devices are becoming increasingly popular. Equipped with sensors, they recognise when is necessary to irrigate and when not. Hence, they enable the efficient and sparing usage of water and help avoid wastage. In the meantime, there are products for varying demands. Whereas some users are already satisfied with a timer on the water tap or a remote controlled valve, others rely on an app or smart home technology. This not only makes the irrigation process possible via the smartphone and voice control, but also enables the creation of systematic irrigation plans.

Efficient drip irrigation © Gardena

Efficient drip irrigation © Gardena

Sensors provide accurate data

Programmes that control and optimise the irrigation cycles on the basis of weather data are a further approach. Things start getting really smart when the systems take autonomous decisions based on data collected directly on-site: For instance the soil humidity, light intensity and temperatures - i.e. when the given situation is analysed by sensors and the decision and dosage is supported by precise data. In the case of this premium solution among others a desired soil moisture can be laid down and maintained by the irrigation system.

Individual application

Manufacturers are already thinking about further innovations. Current irrigation systems are aligned especially to meet the needs of urban gardeners or simplify the usage of rain water. However, implementing such systems has to be well-considered. "We basically recommend people to let the specialised trade advise them which technology is the most suitable for the individual application at hand," explained George Brown from IVG.

Author: Leif Hallerbach