Irrigating Almond Trees - How to irrigate almond trees
Irrigation is one of the most important operations and is critical for the success of an almond orchard. The goal is to help the soil maintain adequate moisture, making it available for the trees at any time during the growing season. However, over irrigation should be avoided as it often leads to root rot.
During the previous decades, a great percentage of almond orchards were non-irrigated. However, farmers quickly found out that the almond tree responds greatly to water supply (500-600 mm), both in terms of vigorous growth and remarkable increase in production. Thus, today most of almond orchards are irrigated. In general, low soil moisture is highly associated with inhibition of vegetation growth and thus decrease in production.
Almond tree has great water needs in early spring, during the summer and sometimes during the first months of autumn. Low soil moisture at the end of the growing season is less critical than it is in the beginning. Watering the almond trees during or just before harvesting of the fruit creates several problems. Thus, most farmers stop irrigating the trees about 3-4 days prior the beginning of harvest. However, not irrigating the trees after harvest has been associated with a reduction in the number of blossoms and fruit set of the following year. Consequently, many farmers irrigate lightly their trees immediately after harvest.
In large US commercial almond orchards, drip irrigation and micro jet systems are often used. With these systems, a farmer can monitor the exact soil moisture each day and apply accordingly the efficient fertigation, i.e. injection of fertilizers through the irrigation system. A common drip irrigation system is consisted of 2 laterals per row, whereas the distance between drippers is 2 feet (60 cm.). When there is no rainfall, the irrigation frequency ranges from once in two days to once in four days. Keep in mind that if cover crops are planted in the almond orchard, you may have to increase water supply by 30%, especially during early spring.
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10. Almond Tree Water Requirements
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