Irrigation Management (Horticulture)

Course CodeBHT305
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Aim to Become an Irrigation Expert

This course is ideal for people who already have some irrigation knowledge but who would like to refine their understanding of irrigation design and system maintenance. 

Enhance your knowledge of irrigation systems and design

Study this course to help nurture your career:

  • Learn to manage water better
  • Learn to use water to grow plants in crops, nurseries, gardens


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Wastewater and Recycling
    • Introduction
    • Humans & Water
    • Water And Plant Growth
    • Minimising Plant Requirements
    • Xeriscaping
    • Wastewater
    • Types Of Water Wastage
    • Evaporation
    • Seepage
    • Runoff
    • Overspray
    • Scheduling
    • Recycling Wastewater
    • Wastewater Treatment (Reed-Beds)
    • Suitable Plants
  2. Measuring Water Usage
    • Climate
    • The Hydrological Cycle
    • Infiltration
    • Rainfall
    • Temperature
    • Wind
    • Microclimates
    • Special Applications
    • Measuring Soil Moisture
    • Water Monitoring Equipment
    • Measuring Water Usage
  3. Drainage
    • Introduction
    • Drainage
    • Rainfall
    • Improving Permeability During Construction
    • Cultivation
    • Adding Soil Ameliorants
    • Chemical Treatments
    • Improving Surface Drainage After Construction
    • Sand Slitting
    • Aerating
    • Sub Soiling
    • Layout Of Drains
    • Herringbone
    • Grid
    • Outlet
    • Gradients
    • Distance Between Drainage Pipes
    • Depth Of Drains
    • Types Of Drains
    • Clay Pipes
    • Corrugated Plastic
    • Fibreglass Strip Drain
    • PVC Pipe
    • Laying The Drain
    • Contingencies To Deal with Flood
  4. Irrigation Controllers
    • Introduction
    • Irrigation Controllers
    • Controllers
    • Automatic Controllers
    • Time Clocks
    • Computerised Tap Controllers
    • Manual Controllers
    • Battery Powered Solenoid Valves
    • Water Volumes and Duration
    • Pumps And Pressure Systems
    • Pump Flow
    • Pressure
    • Types Of Pumps
    • Shallow Well Pumps
    • Deep Well Pumps
    • Pumping Mechanisms
    • Piston Pumps
    • Centrifugal Pumps
    • Turbine Pumps
    • When Centrifugal Pump Fails to Operate
  5. System Maintenance
    • Maintenance Of Watering Systems
    • Maintenance Procedures and Scheduling
    • Maintaining Trickle Irrigation Systems
    • Maintaining Water Quality
    • How To Improve the Quality of Water from Any Source
    • Problems Of Water Quality and Their Remedies
    • Physical Impurities
    • Chemical Impurities
    • Biological Impurities
    • Bacteriological Impurities
  6. Fertigation
    • Introduction
    • Advantages of Fertigation
    • Disadvantages of Fertigation
    • Fertigation Types
    • Proportional Application
    • Quantitative Application
    • Continuous Application
    • Three Stage Application
    • Fertiliser Injectors
    • Pump Injectors
    • Pressure Differential Injectors
    • Suction Injectors
    • Fertiliser Applications
    • Plant Nursery Fertiliser Injection Techniques
  7. Design Evaluation
    • Design Considerations
    • Importance of Design
    • Surface/Flood Irrigation
    • Sprinkler Irrigation
    • Trickle Irrigation
    • Microjet Irrigation
    • Do It Yourself Micro Irrigation Systems
    • Time Length of Watering
    • Automatic Systems
    • Water Management in Turf
  8. System Design
    • Pre-Planning Information
    • What Is the Soil Like?
    • Record The Dimensions and Other Measurements
    • Consult The Local Council on Relevant By Laws
    • Study The Environment of The Locality
    • What Resources Are Available to Do the Job?
    • What Preferences and Priorities Does the Client or Owner Have?
    • Type of System
    • Underground Pipes
    • Drainage

What You Will Do

  • Contact your regional or local water authority.
  • Ask them for information on their water restriction policy.
  • When are water restrictions enforced and how do they affect water users?
  • Focus mainly on the problems experienced by agricultural users.
  • Consider ways that users can minimise their dependence on water access?
  • Write a brief report on your findings and submit with your assignment.
  • Visit a property that uses irrigation.
  • Discuss with the manager the methods that are used to decide when to water and how much ater to use.
  • Is irrigation an important element in the success or otherwise of the property?
  • Choose a drainage system to which you can get access.
  • Remember a drainage system is designed to cope with most situations.
  • They are many examples in your local everyday environment.
  • Some examples might include the guttering on your house or even on your car.
  • Discuss how the system operates and include sketches to show design features.
  • Contact a number of companies that offer computerised and technology solutions to irrigation.
  • Obtain prices and information if possible on appropriate working installations of their product.
  • If possible try a follow up visit at least one (1) operation and discuss the product with a user as well as a retailer. If distance or transport is a problem then you could try writing for this information, which would be suitable for the purpose of this set task.
  • Visit a property that uses large irrigation systems.
  • Enquire about the maintenance of their systems.
  • Consider how is water quality monitored and maintained?
  • Investigate at least two irrigation supply companies.
    • Observe how they service customers.
    • Consider: are there any other services they provide?

Water is Important to Plant Growth

Water is a major component of all plant growth. In succulent, leafy plant material the water content may be as high as 85 - 95%. Of all materials taken in by a plant, water is absorbed in the largest quantities. Generally less than 5% of the water taken in by the plant is used within the plant. In some cases the amount used is as little as 1%. The water remaining in the plant is used mainly in the cell tissues which are 75 - 90% water, as a carrier of foods from the leaves via the transport system (vascular system), and in very small quantities as part of the photosynthetic process.

The remaining 95% or more acts as a carrier of nutrients. Once it has carried these nutrients up through the plant, it becomes surplus and is disposed of to the atmosphere through the leaf stomata (leaf pores). This loss of water also helps to keep the leaf canopy cool reducing the likelihood of leaf burning or desiccation. This upward movement of water from the roots through the stems via the vascular system to the leaves is sometimes known as the transpiration stream.

Transpiration is the principal method of water movement into and through the plant. This is a physical process powered by the evaporation of water as a vapour into the atmosphere from the plant leaf. This water is lost from the outer surface of the leaf mesophyll cells (the spongy interior of the leaf). As the water is lost the cells become dehydrated. This creates a potential difference between the dry mesophyll cells and adjacent moist ones. Because of waters strong cohesive property (strong resistance of water molecules to be pulled apart) water from the adjacent moist cells diffuses through the cell walls into the dehydrated cells thereby relieving the pressure differential. The continued loss of water molecules from the leaves by evaporation creates a continual flow of water throughout the plant. This results in the pulling of replacement water from the soil via the roots and up the plant stem into the leaf.

Evaporation from the crown of the plant is roughly proportional to the size of the crown. Wind is the major cause of evaporation as it removes the moisture-laden air around the leaves creating a strong gradient between the moisture-laden leaf and the drier atmosphere surrounding the leaf. Increasing temperature will also increase the rate of evaporation. During winter transpiration is generally small, however in spring and early summer the amount of water transpired can be very large. If the availability of soil moisture is high and other conditions (e.g. light) are favourable the transpiration will be high. If either water supply is limited or other conditions are not favourable then transpiration will be greatly reduced.  


Where to from here?

This course can serve as a stepping stone into the following areas of work:

  • Parks & gardens
  • Landscaping
  • Irrigation
  • Garden maintenance
  • Green keeping & turf care

It could also be beneficial to people wishing to start an irrigation or landscaping business. 

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