Importance of Irrigating California Avocado Groves

  • Aug 14, 2013

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

In general, California avocado growers rely on irrigation systems to support the water needs of their groves because avocado trees — native to the humid sub-tropical and tropical regions of central and northern South America where rainfall is abundant — require 40-50 inches of rain and moist soil despite California’s arid, low-rainfall environment.

Irrigation is critical because water plays an important role in avocado production.

  • Water plays a key role in the photosynthesis process that creates the carbohydrates necessary for tree growth and fruit production, as well as the oils and sugars of the avocado fruit.
  • Water plays a role in the creation of amino acids, proteins, vitamins, hormones and enzymes for the avocado tree.
  • Water is the main transportation route of the tree — delivering key salts and minerals to the roots and leaves.
  • Leaves wilt when they do not receive enough water. In this state leaves cannot intercept light properly, which can affect photosynthesis and production.
  • Water helps cool the leaves of the tree. If leaves overheat, they shut down photosynthesis and can also burn.
  • Water used for leaching helps rid the root zone of salts that can lead to tip burn and leaf drop. Excessive leaf drop can reduce fruit production.