If you could choose what seems as the easiest orchard maintenance duty, you would probably choose watering, and that is, indeed an obvious choice. Pouring sufficient amounts of water onto the ground seems rather simple, but the problem arises when we ask ourselves what exactly is “the sufficient amount of water”. And this matter should not be neglected. If the plant is waterless it may suffer sunburns, and fruit may be lackluster. Let us look than what you should know about this issue, and what is the proper way to keep your plants sufficiently watered.
How the Type of Soil Affects the Irrigation
Every type of soil has its own, unique texture, and therefore the different water holding capacity. If you, for example, compared the coarse-textured sandy soils, with fine-textured clay soils, you would see that, for their composition, the latter soil is able to contain much more water. Therefore, the need for watering is usually smaller. As a matter of fact, clay can contain up to 1.5-2 times more water than loam, and 2-2.5 times more water than sand, so you can use this as a general watering rule, assuming that clay needs watering once per week.
Keeping the type of soil in mind, the age of the plant is the second important factor determining the amount of water you will use for irrigation. All the trees can roughly be divided in two groups:
Since trees are gathering the water through their roots and young trees, regardless of type, do not feature an expansive root system, it is easy to observe that they will also need more care and watering efforts. Although that amount varies depending of soil, young trees will usually need up to 20 liters for every week without rainfalls (or without at least 5 cm of rainfalls). Be sure to check how the water is draining, though, because water logging creates more damage than good.
Well-established roots mean that your trees will be more capable of acquiring water from the soil, so they can go further lengths without the irrigation, sometimes even up to two weeks. You should not force them to stay without water for that long, though. Water the trees with the 20 liters for every 10 days under the drought conditions, but be sure that the soil is moist down for almost a meter. If you want to clean your fruit, you can use mobile pressure washing. It will clean the plant of arthropod eggs, while not interfering with the watering plan.
Given the fact that you may plant different fruit on drastically different types of soil, we would say that one of the best ways of watering your plants is to use drip irrigation, which is adaptable to varying landscape situations, and wets only a small area keeping the weeding on the minimum. If you are not able to spend too much time on watering, you should opt for the usual sprinkler irrigation. It will apply the same amount of water as the previous method for the lesser amount of time, but in this case, you must take into equation the loss of 20% due to evaporation, and non-uniformity of application.
These were some of the general rules and tips for keeping your orchard wet. What you will have to do is to take into consideration all we mentioned above, find out the perfect formula which will work for your orchard, and tackle this annoying, yet necessary chore. You will be adequately rewarded once the harvest arrives.
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