Assess Avocado Grove Irrigation Methods

  • Apr 25, 2013

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:

  • Too much or too little water is applied, sacrificing good tree health
  • Water is not applied at the right time to meet the trees' needs according to the trees' growth cycle
  • There is economic loss through lower yields and unnecessary application of water

Improper assessment of avocado grove soil moisture

Given the high cost of water, and the need to properly manage irrigation, especially when trees are under stress from poor root health, adjusting the frequency and amount of irrigation applied is essential. Kicking the mulch over and looking at how moist the soil is does not tell the grower how difficult it is for the avocado roots to extract water from the soil. Digging up the soil and assessing the water availability by hand is also not precise enough for best irrigation practice. Likewise, simply irrigating to a fixed schedule does not make allowance for the differences in the climate from season to season or year to year.

Proper assessment of avocado grove soil moisture

There are a number of instruments available that avocado growers can use to accurately assess the need for irrigation. Such simple technology as tensiometers or porous blocks can give a grower a practical and cost effective way to decide when and how much to irrigate. California Avocado growers are encouraged to directly measure the soil moisture of their groves using instruments when considering when and how much to irrigate as best practice.