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Calculating irrigation needs for fruit trees  RSS feed

 
Antonio Scotti
Posts: 45
Location: Spain
forest garden fungi urban
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Hi,
how does one calculate irrigation needs for fruit trees (especially in summer months)?

I know that there are tables saying how much water they roughly need annually, according to the type of fruit tree, and weather they are dryland adapted or else
The question is how much water should I give them especially during the dry season (more or less 4 months here in mediterranean Spain with about 600 mm/m2/year) and with what frequency considering that the trees will be in their establishment phase next year's summer and at least for the following 2 - 3 years, during which time their watering needs will grow as well.
Of course I could only grow trees that are drought resistant but I'd like to have a bit more diversity since I will have water available. Also depending on the amount of dryness (and global warming) even drought tolerant trees might need some irrigation at some point.

One idea I had was to calculate how much rainfall had rained up until right before the dry season starts and then irrigate using the figure obtained by subtracting this figure from the annual amount of rainfall the tree needs. So this difference is what I would feed the tree with during the dry season. I think this is a very approximate calculation and doesn't really take into account things like the Evapotranspiration rate of the tree itself, for example, nor does it hints at how often should one irrigate, nor it does contemplate if the soil is heavily mulched (which would affect both the tree watering needs and evapotranspiration). Also, then the tree would probably have an excess of water in the end. So I reckon that this is not a very good take on how to best do it.

I heard in a few places that it is better to irrigate a tree by giving it some amount of water spaced over a few days rather than some every day. Is this true also during the dry spell?

There must be articles out there explaining this. Is there anyone you can recommend?
Also I am reading the book "The Holistic Orchard" and haven't been able to find much on this, especially because the experience reported there is mostly about more nothern (temperate) climates.

Cheers
 
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