Irrigation

D. Michael Glenn

Irrigation is required for producing deciduous tree fruit crops when there is inadequate water available in the soil from precipitation to meet the atmospheric demand for water through the tree. Climate is generally the primary indicator for irrigation need. Arid regions with less than 250 millimeters of rainfall require irrigation even for tree survival; semiarid regions receiving less than 500 millimeters can produce a fruit crop, olive for example, but yields are low and the risk of crop failure is high. Subhumid and humid regions receiving more than 500 millimeters of rainfall can produce fruit crops, depending on the available water storage capacity of the soil. Irrigation is often supplied in subhumid and humid regions when shallow or sandy soils limit the available water storage in the soil or drought frequently occurs for periods greater than two weeks. Irrigation should be supplied to newly planted and young trees when their root systems are poorly developed.

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