christinepi
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irrigation question

With the California drought in full swing, I'm wondering whether I could cut back on irrigating my orchard by doing things slightly differently. We're on a well and it's started dropping precipitously. Currently I'm watering 60 minutes once a week. Would it be ok to water every other week, but water 90 minutes instead? That way I would save 25% of water, and it would be a deeper watering. But, of course, also only every other week. Thoughts?

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: irrigation question

You could water 45 minutes every week with the same results.

If your plants are used to weekly watering, I don't think I'd change it. 25% reduction spread out over 2 weeks is less harsh than a load of more water than can be used 1 week, and no water the next week.
Lindsay
Upstate, SC
USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

JONA878
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Re: irrigation question

a couple of things Christine.
Most fruit trees are fairly shallow rooted so deep watering is not too helpful.
You do not say how much water you are actually applying. If you want to cut down then it would be better to continue regular watering but reduce the amount to 3/4 hr.
I guess you already water in the evening to reduce evaporation?
The ideal soil watering to orchard fruits is reckoned to be to a two inch deficit.
Do you use sprinklers to put the water on or drip pipes or a tank etc?
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

christinepi
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Re: irrigation question

I use 1/2" Netafim with holes very 4" or so. No sprinklers. Lots of mulch. I water in the early morning. I guess evenings make more sense...

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Gary350
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Re: irrigation question

I would water 10 minutes a day instead of 60 minutes a week.

imafan26
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Re: irrigation question

If the netafilm is under the mulch, I would load on more mulch. If there is enough organics in the soil it should help hold on to the moisture. I do agree if the plants are used to a certain watering schedule it is better to reduce the time but keep the interval the same. How far are the trees spaced? More room between them would help.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

JONA878
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Re: irrigation question

Imafan is right that more mulch would help keep the moisture in. Make sure that the extra mulch is damp though as it too would absorb a huge quantity of valuable moisture.
I would argue with Gary though against very light watering.
If you only water trees lightly ....especially in dry conditions...you force the tree to produce roots that are very near the surface. Then the trees become even more open to drought conditions.
With your heavy mulching Christine, your trees should be getting a fair drink each week.
They will let you know if they are not happy by wilting and shedding leaves.
They will shed leaf before they shed fruit by the way.
We had an orchard that virtually shed all its leaf while still carrying its fruit one very dry summer when our reservoir ran dry.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

valley
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Re: irrigation question

Just read through this thread some very good information. Jona's posts are to the point and in some depth, as I would expect. Thanks

Richard

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