Q. Our 3 apricot trees are loaded with fruit. What is the ideal amounts of water? We have dripers at each tree
1-how much - each day(how many days a week) or per week
2-how much at one time
3-should we do more than one cycle per day
A. It is difficult to tell you how many minutes to irrigate but basically you want to wet the soil beneath the tree to a depth of 12 to 18 inches every time you irrigate. On small trees, this should be the entire area under the canopy. On larger trees this should be at least half of the area under the canopy.
You should have enough drip emitters and spaced so that it will do this. For most of our soils this means they should be no further apart than 2 feet.
Right now we should be irrigating fruit trees twice a week. Fruit trees perform much better and are more likely to hold their fruit if there is a thick carpet of wood chips on the surface of the soil beneath the canopy. This layer of wood chips can also cushion the fruit if they were to fall during strong winds. Very common if they are ripe. This carpet of wood chip mulch should be 3 to 4 inches deep. You will add more wood chips every 2 to 3 years because they will begin to disintegrate into the wet soil.
|Here wood chip mulch was applied to the soil surface all through the Orchard. This much is not necessary. It would be adequate if the mulch was 4 inches deep inside the irrigation basin.|
There is no need to water more than one cycle each time you water provided the water is kept under the canopy. If the water tends to run off to another location then you should build a basin under the canopy to hold the water. These basins are generally about 3 to 4 feet wide. With most good drip emitters they release water so slowly that the basin is not necessary. More than one cycle a day each time you irrigate is only necessary when water is applied on slopes or when the water is applied so rapidly that it runs everywhere. Otherwise there is no magic involved in watering more than one cycle per day.