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Citrus Drip Line Irrigation Requirements

Updated on March 14, 2011

It is important to know the right water necessities for your citrus orange orchard so you can reap the maximum benefits of its yield.

Saving and cutting back on water on your orange trees will eventually produce weak yields and stress your trees while too much water on the other hand can cause radicular root asphyxiation leading to the development of fungus, bacteria’s and viruses.

This will ultimately provoke the citrus tree to abort its fruits and drop most of it foliage and lead to a slow death.

The critical periods in terms of water necessities are between flowering and fruit maturity. The known June drop can be lessened by supplying a bit more water that usual starting a month before with added growth regulators.

Continually supplying the wrong amount of water to a citrus orchard will lead to less productivity, inferior quality citrus, smaller fruits and higher acidic content.

A good irrigation yields a good crop
A good irrigation yields a good crop

Even after correcting the irrigation requirements supply, these affects can still linger on for years before the orchard gets back on track.

Each and every hectare with adult orange trees will need about 6 million liters of water altogether throughout the year, precipitation and irrigation included. The numbers vary according to rainfall, dry weather conditions, orange tree variety, tree density and soil retention/drainage capacity.

The amount of shadow available around the tree-top determines as well the necessity for water. In hotter months when more water is required the more shadow directly beneath the tree top the less evaporation there is, thus you can cut back on water.

This is a technique used by many orange producers that is advantageous and at the same time in areas where there is a great amount of rainfall, can on the other hand ruin the tree as I’ve described earlier.

Installing soil humidity sensors around your orchard will greatly tell you the amount of water existing in each and every type of soil for absorption. As soon as the sensor reaches 20 cbars start irrigating again.

Knowing at each and every stage of orange tree growth the depth of the roots will result in smarter irrigation, saving you water and nutrients that you apply to the water.

On young orange trees for example the depth irrigated should not exceed 50 cm while on adult orange trees 90 cm.

To further help in maximum water absorption by the tree itself, remember that as the tree grows, so do the roots as well. The roots of an orange tree reach out in the ground in a radicular pattern as much as the limit of the foliage of the tree top.

As the tree grows pull the drip line farther away from the trunk but always 20 to 30cm inside of the maximum limit of the foliage.

If your orchard is located in hard water country then you should once a year add Nitric, Sulphuric or Phosphoric acid in the fertilizer pumping unit at only a concentration of 1%. They are orange tree nutrients as well at this concentration.

Calculate the amount to be used, paying careful attention and wearing the appropriate protection gear and pump the acid, leave overnight and the next day turn on the irrigation and go around opening the ends of the drip line to flush out the hard deposits.


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