Drip Irrigation on Newly Planted Avocado Trees

Are you considering planting avocado trees this season? If so, you’re in luck because I’ve got some juicy tips that will ensure your trees thrive from the moment they’re planted. One of the most effective methods I’ve found for watering newly planted avocado trees is using drip irrigation. In this article, I’ll walk you through my tried-and-true method and share some variations used on farms. So let’s dive in and discover the secrets to success!

My Yard: Three Emitters for Optimal Results

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When it comes to watering a newly planted avocado tree in my yard, I’ve found that using three emitters is the best approach. I strategically place one emitter right next to the trunk, as this is where the roots are concentrated in a newly planted tree. This emitter is absolutely essential. Then, I position an emitter on each side, spaced between six to 18 inches from the trunk. The specific spacing doesn’t seem to make a significant difference in my experience.

These two side emitters serve two important functions. Firstly, they allow the tree’s roots to expand by moistening the soil beyond the immediate root zone. Avocado roots will only grow in soil that retains moisture. Secondly, the side emitters provide some resilience to competition from larger plants nearby. In a yard setting, it’s common to have established trees or plants close enough to the young avocado tree’s irrigated zone. These older plants can quickly absorb the water meant for the avocado. However, by expanding the irrigated zone with the three emitters, the young avocado tree can better withstand this root competition.

Extra Line: Planning for Growth

As your newly planted avocado tree grows, its water needs will increase. To accommodate this growth, it’s wise to plan ahead. My preferred method is to include extra drip tubing during the initial planting. Instead of just using enough tubing for three emitters, I leave it long enough to accommodate five or six emitters.

During the initial planting, the tubing can be folded to allow only three emitters to operate. As the tree’s water requirements increase, you can easily unfold the tubing, allowing additional emitters to come into play. This method is much simpler than using an adapter to connect more tubing.

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Farms: Different Approaches for Large-Scale Plantings

If you have more than a couple of avocado trees or a full-fledged farm, a different layout may be more suitable for you. Generally, trees are planted in rows, making it more efficient to run a single tube down the entire row.

For example, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, avocado trees are started on a single line of drip irrigation. Similar to my yard method, three emitters are placed under each tree during planting. This setup allows for efficient watering and promotes healthy root growth.

Another approach on farms is to use “inline” emitters built into the tubing itself. These emitters can be placed every 12 or 18 inches along the length of the tube. With this method, a single tube is laid next to the tree trunks in the row. Some farmers opt for double driplines, which eliminates the need for additional tubing or emitters as the trees grow larger.

Drip Tube with Inline Emitters: Maximizing Efficiency

When using inline emitters, it’s important to note that some water may be wasted during the first year or two. This is because the young trees’ roots have yet to reach the soil between the trees, which is being irrigated. To mitigate this, some growers opt to plant other crops between the avocado trees during this initial period. This ensures that the water is not wasted and can contribute to the growth of other beneficial plants. Some popular choices include pumpkins, melons, and cover crop mixes consisting of oats and peas.

More to Explore

Now, you may be wondering about other aspects of drip irrigation for newly planted avocado trees. How long should the drip system run? Which emitters are best suited for avocado trees? Is mulching necessary? How do you expand the drip system alongside tree growth? These are all excellent questions, and I’ll be addressing them in upcoming posts.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of cultivating healthy avocado trees. For more insightful tips and tricks, visit Tips Tree Planting. Together, we’ll create thriving gardens and orchards that will bring joy for years to come.

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