Accurate irrigation is critical for fruit productivity and quality. Water stress caused by either excessive or deficient soil moisture can contribute to increases in corking and bitter pit. Water stress can also contribute to reduced fruit size, and fruit shape not true to type. Excessive moisture is conducive to soil borne disease reducing root health and the ability for roots to take up nutrients such as calcium.
WSU Ag Weathernet has an irrigation scheduler tool which allows you to plan your irrigation schedule based on the actual precipitation and evapotranspiration at a weather station near you. It takes into account your soil type, your soil’s water holding capacity, and the evapotranspiration rate of fruit trees. You can set up multiple fields and track them on your computer, or phone.
Visit this page for steps to evaluate your current irrigation system and make a plan to improve your irrigation schedule.
Using soil moisture measurements is one of the best and simplest ways to get feedback to help make improved water management decisions. The link above is an attempt to provide practical recommendations for using these sensors to improve your operation.
Guide to common irrigation concepts and tools.
- WSU Extension Drought Website (Last accessed: 12/1/2017)
- Managing irrigation water on different soils in the same field, T. Peters and J. Davenport, WSU Extension Fact Sheet, FS086E, 2012. (Last accessed: 12/1/2017)
- Soil water monitoring and measurement, T. W. Ley, et. al., PNW0475. (Last accessed: 12/1/2017)
- Find out if your project is exempt from a water right permit, Dept. of Ecology webpage. (Accessed: 12/17/15).