KISSS Ebb&Flow System

Designed to meet the needs of the water hungry nursery industry, Ebb&Flow is surprisingly simple to install and to operate. Based on the KISSS technology the system eliminates the need for wasetful overhead watering. When compared to overhead watering systems Ebb&Flow can save as much as 60% water usage.

KISSS Ebb&Flow is suitable for pots in plug trays or pots up to 20litres (16" pots) capacity. The system is available in 11 convenient sizes: 0.30m, 0.60m, 1.06m, 1.2m, 1.37m, 1.5m, 1.67m, 1.8m, 2m, 2.13m, 2.6m. 

How Does it Work

The ebb and flow mat is a bottom watering system which means that water is supplied to the base of the pot and moves up into the media.  Sprinklers are top watering systems and so irrigation water moves down through the media and drains from the base of the pot.

Top watering systems leach fertilizers from the media increasing costs and causing environmental problems.  With bottom watering, leaching only occurs when it rains.

The Ebb & flow mat has three layers - A base impermeable layer that contains the water and prevents drainage losses, a middle layer of geotextile that distributes the water and a top layer of ground mat that protects the geotextile from mechanical damage and  algae and restricts evaporation . Water is supplied to the geotextile layer by drip irrigation lines in sleaves on both sides of the mat.

Ebb&Flow_Mat

When pots or seedling trays are placed on the saturated mat, the downward pressure brings water through the ground cover and into contact with the pots, causing water to rise into contact with media at the bottom and side openings. Capillary action then lifts the water into the root zone of plants. The top surface of media remains dry for all or most of the time, reducing evaporation and inhibiting growth of weeds and algae.

Movement of water through the geotextile layer is influenced by the moisture content of the media in pots in a way that ensures water goes where it is needed most. The driest pots have the greatest attraction for water. When pots are fully wet, no more water is absorbed from the mat. The irrigation event is therefore terminated when each pot reaches an ideal moisture content.

When the irrigation is finished, free water drains from the mat breaking the capillary connection with the media and leaving the pot on a dry surface.

Benefits:

  • Save up to 60% water compared to overhead systems
  • Fully automated
  • Improves plant uniformity 
  • Less nutrient runoff from growing areas and lower fertiliser costs
  • Dry surface means fewer weeds and lower incidence of foliar diseases
  • Directs rain & irrigation water to your storage tank or dam
  • Standard non capillary pots and a variety of potting mixes are suitable

Difference Between Ebb & Flow Mat and Capillary Mat Irrigation

 Ebb & Flow irrigation compared to tradtional watering (by hand)
Traditional watering (left) compared to Ebb & Flow irrigation (right)

Unlike conventional capillary systems, the KISSS Ebb&Flow Mat has a distinct wet and dry cycle.  

Pots sitting on the Ebb&Flow mat take up water by capillary actionfrom a ring of free water that appears at each irrigation. When the irrigation ceases, the mat drains and the capillary connections are broken allowing the media to dry a little before the next irrigation. This helps to harden the plant, control the growth rate and protect against disease. Plants on conventional capillary systems receive an uninterrupted supply of water and so grow fast and soft.

Pots may be lifted and replaced on the mat without interfering with the operation of the system. This is not possible with a conventional capillary mat or bed system because lifting will break the  capillary connection between the media and water source and cause the pot to dry out.

Installation and Maintenance

Ebb&Flow mats come in a variety of sizes and installation is straight forward. They can be used on sloping beds (0-6% incline), on level ground and on benches. The system is suitable for use with most pots that have drainage holes in the base or on the sides and also with most good quality potting mixes.

Installation also requires

  • One ‘header pack’ per mat
  • Filter/pressure reducer/pressure gauge unit
  • Electronic irrigation timer and solenoids
  • Water supply (12psi required pressure)
  • Minimum water flow rate of 30L/min per 100LM (7USg/Min)

Plants should be well watered from overhead when pots are first placed on the mat to settle the media around the roots and to start the capillary action. No further overhead watering should be required.