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Advantages Of Using A Cannabis Irrigation System
4 min

Advantages Of Using A Cannabis Irrigation System

4 min
Growing Seedshop

How about growing cannabis the easy way? An irrigation system doesn’t just do away with the hassle of watering your cannabis plants by hand, it offers a host of other advantages too. Here are the pros, cons, and details you need to know about cannabis irrigation systems.

Everyone who grows cannabis knows just how important proper watering and feeding are in your efforts to obtain the best yield possible. But for some reason, automatic irrigation systems don’t seem to get the same buzz and attention from cannabis media and growers as other tech like climate control or LED grow lights.

An astonishing number of cultivators are indeed still watering and feeding their plants by hand. But why go through all the hassle? The thing is, an automated irrigation system not only saves you time and energy, but also comes with a host of additional benefits.

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WHAT IS A CANNABIS IRRIGATION SYSTEM?

WHAT IS A CANNABIS IRRIGATION SYSTEM?

There are irrigation systems out there for all types of grow styles. You can get simple irrigation systems for plants potted in soil, and irrigation systems to facilitate full-fledged hydroponic setups—where plants are held in special pots with an inert grow medium like perlite or clay pebbles.

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Most irrigation systems work in a similar way, but for this guide we will focus on simple systems for soil grows, rather than the more complex hydroponic and aeroponic growing styles.

COMPONENTS OF A BASIC IRRIGATION SYSTEM

COMPONENTS OF A BASIC IRRIGATION SYSTEM

A drip irrigation system normally consists of a number of small hoses, drippers, and a reservoir for your water and nutrient solution. The hoses are used to transport nutrient-rich water to your plants, and, depending on the system, one or more pumps helps to push the process along—literally. Alternatively, some reservoirs are simply placed at an elevation above the plants, allowing water to be delivered by gravity instead of by pump.

Irrigation systems can also vary in how many plants they are built to feed. Some systems are only suitable for a plant or two; others are outfitted to supply industrial greenhouses. Most of the time, irrigation systems are connected to a timer that controls the frequency with which nutrient-rich water is administered. This way, cultivators can obtain control over the amount they feed their plants, essentially down to the last drop.

What’s even better is that all of this is fully automated, so you don’t need to be there. Most irrigation systems are not too difficult to set up, as all you need to do is find a place for the reservoir, place the drippers into your pots, then connect them to the system using the hoses. Depending on the system, simple irrigation systems are also quite inexpensive.

ADVANTAGES OF USING A CANNABIS IRRIGATION SYSTEM

ADVANTAGES OF USING A CANNABIS IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Using an irrigation system comes with many advantages, including:

  • Optimal nutrient efficiency

An irrigation system allows for precise control over the amount and frequency with which you water your plants, which means you’ll also be in full control over the supply of nutrients. As you can fine-tune the feeding, once you’ve established what your cannabis needs for optimal growth, you can automate and adjust the system accordingly, so not a single drop of nutrients will go to waste!

  • Saves water

Saving water isn’t just a financial matter, but can be important for those in extremely dry areas. With a drip irrigation system, you can provide your cannabis plants with the exact amount of water they require for optimal growth. This will both save water and prevent the cannabis kiss of death: overwatering.

  • Ensures health and vigour

Efficient water and nutrient delivery means fewer issues related to nutrient lockout and deficiency, pests, mould, and root rot. As a result, your plants will thrive, and you won’t waste any time warding off issues and waiting for them to recover! This alone makes one very strong argument for an irrigation system.

  • You can be away while your plants are taken care of

Unlike manual watering and feeding, your irrigation system will work automatically, without you needing to be present. Depending on the size of your water reservoir, your plants will be taken care of for days, if not weeks. You can finally go on travels knowing that your plants will be getting all they need while you’re away: another huge plus that gives testament to an irrigation system!

  • More time for other things

Automating common tasks in the grow room gives you more time to attend to other matters. This may not sound like a big deal if you only have a plant or two, but the time savings are significant once the amount of plants stacks up. Let’s say you spend 20 minutes per day watering your plants; with an irrigation system, you can gain back more than two hours every single week!

DISADVANTAGES OF USING AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM

DISADVANTAGES OF USING AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Alas, there are also some disadvantages. Here are some of the downsides of automated watering:

  • Demands for regular maintenance

Irrigation systems will require routine maintenance to work optimally. This usually equates to refreshing the nutrient solution in the reservoir every 1–2 weeks, as well as giving the entire system a regular flush to clean out algae and mineral buildup that can clog the hoses and nozzles over time. You should also frequently check to make sure that all of your plants are receiving the water solution. With systems that don’t use drippers, but instead feed plants from below, it may not be obvious if a plant isn’t getting fed due to a clogged tube. Since you aren't watering manually, you may then need to keep an extra-keen eye on your plants for signs of poor health.

  • Cost

Simple drip irrigation systems fortunately won’t cost a lot, but they will still set you back more than a watering can from the discount store. This is especially true if you choose to invest in an elaborate system with pumps, or one that will be feeding many plants.

CAN IRRIGATION SYSTEMS BE USED BOTH INDOORS AND OUTDOORS?

CAN IRRIGATION SYSTEMS BE USED BOTH INDOORS AND OUTDOORS?

Many types of automated irrigation systems are suited for indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse grows. That said, if you choose to set up an automated system outdoors, one consideration is whether you have access to power outlets for the pumps. This may not be a problem on your balcony or terrace, but if you’re in some remote location with no power, you will need to look into a passive system. This is one where the water is provided by a large, elevated reservoir.

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BOTTOM LINE: IS AN IRRIGATION SYSTEM WORTH IT?

There are those who don’t mind watering and feeding their plants by hand. And admittedly, if you only have a few plants, it isn’t a big deal, and can in fact be an enjoyable thing to do. But at some point, especially if you’re growing many plants, these tasks can become tedious.

Given the many advantages of cannabis irrigation systems outlined above, we’d say that it's definitely worth trying, if mostly to allow your plants to be fed while you’re out and about. Even more expensive systems will ultimately pay for themselves, as you will save on nutrients and water over time. Plus, what can be more important than growing healthy cannabis plants that reward with top bud come harvest time?

Georg

Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

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