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Irrigation

Irrigating California avocado trees can be challenging for several reasons. Avocado trees are heavy users of water but they have a shallow feeder root system located primarily in the top six inches of soil that are prone to drying out. The feeder roots also have very few root hairs, thus making them inefficient at absorbing water. Hillside groves with decomposed granite drain well, but they drain rather quickly. Groves with high clay content can suffer from poor drainage that leads to root rot.

For the above reasons, monitoring soil moisture in avocado groves is important.

Understanding soil salinity and irrigation are key concepts to successful avocado grove management because poor avocado yields are often caused by under-irrigation and/or high soil salinity. 

In California, poor avocado yields are often related to poor irrigation practices and soil salinity issues.

ECe. Soil salinity is measured as the salt concentration of a soil solution in terms of electrical conductivity (EC). For soil salinity, the EC is written as ECe. 

Irrigation. Providing water to soil in order to create a favorable environment for plants.

Leaching. Dissolving and transporting excess soluble salts from the root zone of the soil by applying and then draining excess water in the grove.

It’s important to manage the costs of irrigating avocado trees in order to be a successful California avocado grower. To ensure your irrigation is not wasting water resources, consider the following avocado cultural management practices.

To get the best results from avocado grove irrigation, it is very important to measure soil moisture levels with reasonable accuracy when deciding when and how much to irrigate. Poor irrigation practices cost California Avocado growers in several ways.

Very often a great source of frustration for an avocado grower is to see a large percentage of the newly set fruit dropped by the avocado tree. This drop of new fruit is normal and thought to be the trees’ means of getting rid of fruit with defective or weak seeds.

Irrigation is important to avocado trees in California because avocados are native to the humid sub-tropical and tropical regions of central and northern South America where rainfall is abundant. In comparison, California is an arid Mediterranean climate with low rainfall.

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