Saving water in orchards, vineyards.
As climate change, droughts and increased demand highlight the need to use water resources in agriculture more effectively and sustainably, a simple South African solution is revolutionising the irrigation of orchards and vineyards.
Called the Tree Hog and patented internationally, the solution designed by Robertson fruit farmer Louis Loubser has been delivering extraordinary savings and benefits in orchards and vineyards since it was introduced into the market early in 2017.
The Tree Hog is a unit that is placed around the base of a tree or vine with a micro sprinkler attached to the inside. Minimising evaporation and ensuring optimum water delivery to the root zone, it has been proven to:
- Save in excess of 70% in water and electricity (soil type and irrigation method dependent) – supported by Stellenbosch University study;
- Maintain a balanced soil temperature for root development;
- Increase micro-organisms by using less harmful weed control chemicals;
- Reduce fertiliser requirements;
- Also deliver results when fitted to mature trees; and
- Reduce stress in established orchards upon transition from an existing irrigation system (measured at Stellenbosch University).
The Tree Hog is manufactured in South Africa from UV-stabilised injection-moulded polypropylene to withstand the harshest conditions. It offers a breakout rim to allow for tree growth, expanding the trunk opening from 160mm to 260mm, four ventilation holes and a sprinkler hook with a two-way option to irrigate.