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Irrigation Practices

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Food forest irrigation is frequently used on high-value or specialty crops to provide a consistent output year after year. It is also used on plants when water stress impacts the yield quality—soil’s ability to store water and crop’s water demand impact irrigation. However, the quantity and timing of rainfall throughout the season should also be considered. In this article, we will explore the various irrigation practices, utilities, and how to start implementing them yourself.

Important Considerations

Before making accurate judgments about when and how much water to use, you need to be aware of the following:

1. The current soil types‘ water retention

2. A reliable technique for detecting soil’s water content.

3. A benchmark of the watering system’s performance.

4. An exact figure for its foliar application.

How & When To Irrigate?

There is no way to determine when watering is necessary without an irrigation schedule. A schedule allows you to regularly assess the quantity of water in the soil that is accessible to the plant. When deciding the times to irrigate, consider how much moisture will evaporate or be lost before reaching the trees and plants. The soil moisture levels will change according to the seasons, weather, and the crop’s water needs. In consideration of this point, a replenishment point must be established. Crop water stress may lower output if irrigation is delayed past the replenishment point.

Water stress is especially damaging at vital development phases. It is critical to provide an adequate moisture supply throughout seed germination and seedling’s emergence from the soil. Water stress affects many shallow-rooted plants and freshly planted trees and shrubs. Too much water in the soil depletes the oxygen supply, causing root system damage. Plant roots require oxygen to survive. When soil remains wet, it has less oxygen. When this situation becomes severe, the roots begin to die and can no longer absorb water. The leaves then begin to exhibit indications of dehydration. Water stress is

Water Quality

The quality of water is an essential point of the food forest and garden production. Soluble salts, pH, and alkalinity are a variety of factors that determine water quality. However, complex water salts, heavy metals that might clog irrigation systems, or particular harmful ions should also be checked.

It is also interesting to know that chemical fertilizers are often distributed in the form of salts, containing the primary nutrients N, P, K. To wash those chemicals in, you will need to add more water to your system. So based on the time of the year and the amount of rainfall, you might want to consider when (and if)  to introduce those chemicals into your ecosystem.

In cases of high-volume gardens & food forests, water should be examined at a qualified laboratory to ensure it is safe and ideal for irrigation. Polluted water can cause delayed growth, low aesthetic standard of the product, and, in rare situations, the progressive wilting of the plants.

High Soluble Salt Content

Causes direct root damage by interfering with nutrient and water absorption. Salts accumulate in the leaf margins of plants, resulting in the burning of the edges.

High Alkalinity

Can affect the pH growth medium, interfering with nutrient absorption and generating nutritional shortfall that jeopardizes plant viability.

Runoff & Reclaimed Water

Disease organisms, residues of an organic compound, and soluble salts may be present

In Conclusion

Understanding how plants use water and the various elements that come into play requires time and expertise. These consist of the type of plant, the texture of the soil, its size, recent weather, solar exposure, time of day, and season.

To summarize, watering your food forests and gardens should not be a routine chore. The quantity of water a plant needs is continuously changing, so you must keep an eye on it. Food Forest Abundance will help you transform your yard into a food forest and build a joyful and straightforward system of self-sufficiency

Food Forest Abundance

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