Managing on limited water

The University of California pomology farm advisors are not recommending shaking blooms off trees or hedging them to reduce the need for water.

UCCE’s Brent Holtz is citing the research of UC irrigation specialist David Goldhamer as the most advisable way to endure the drought for at least one year.

Goldhamer’s research has shown that almond trees can be kept alive with only 8-10 inches of water spread out over the entire season.

“Goldhamer stresses that we should not irrigate normally early in the spring, and then stop irrigating altogether when your water supply runs out. That strategy can kill your trees. I did kill Carmel trees in David’s experiments that were fully irrigated early and cut off in late June, after receiving 14 inches,” Holtz said.

It is better to irrigate at 15-20 percent ETc for the entire season, says Holtz.

Goldhamer assumes a modest 6 inches of rain. Assuming 4 of those 6 inches of rainfall gets stored in the soil profile, the irrigation specialist suggests delaying irrigation until 2 inches of those four inches are consumed in the spring. Then apply only 15-20% ETc for the rest of the season.

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