Native to subtropical climates, avocado trees are water-thirsty and thrive in abundant rainfall. Proper irrigation is important in climates where rainfall is low if you want a bumper harvest.
Young avocado trees require more water than mature ones to develop a strong root network. The young trees, especially in summer, require 5 to 20 gallons of water several times a week.
The mature trees can be watered once a week without needing supplemental water, depending on temperatures and rainfall amount. Generally, mature trees need 40-50 inches of rain annually.
Avocado Water Stress
Avocado trees experience water stress when overwatered or underwatered. Water stress reduces the growth of avocados and causes premature dropping, wilting, marginal leaf scorch, tip dieback, chlorosis, and, in severe cases, plant death.
Water stress is common when water is applied wrongly during different seasons. Your trees’ soil should be kept lightly but evenly moist in summer and spring. In winter and autumn, avoid watering your tree until around the end of March, when winter rain stops.
Determining Irrigation Needs
Determining your tree’s irrigation needs is crucial, and even the most experienced farmers keenly regulate their plants’ water intake. We agree it can be challenging to determine whether your avocado tree requires more or less water.
However, measuring that intake becomes more challenging when irrigating using a hose pipe. This makes frequent checks important to determine how fast the soil dries in your climate. It also helps in developing an irrigation routine.
A good method for determining if your tree is moist or not is by squeezing a handful of soil from around the tree’s root. If the soil holds up, it is moist enough, but if it does not, the tree needs watering.
Farmers can also use other instruments to determine soil moisture accurately. Such simple, low-cost, and effective technology includes tensiometers and porous blocks.
How Frequently Should I Water My Avocado Tree?
There are several factors to take into account before deciding the frequency of watering your tree. Read on!
- Soil characteristics
- Local and seasonal environmental characteristics
- Availability of water
- The tree’s acceptable stress level
Watering a Potted Avocado Tree
Sprouting an avocado seed from scratch is not hard. You stick some toothpicks in the avocado pit and suspend it in a glass of water with the broader side down.
The purpose of the toothpicks is to hold the top side of the seed up so that only the bottom side stays submerged.
Keep the seed in a warm place, away from direct sunlight. Within eight weeks, the roots and stem should appear. Once the roots are thick enough and the stem bears leaves, you can plant the seedling in the soil.
As noted earlier, young avocado trees, including potted ones, require sufficient and regular watering. They also require periods when the soil is drier. The rate at which your tree’s soil dries out depends on where you place it.
Windy or warm weather conditions will have you watering your avocado tree more frequently than when indoors.
Watering a Planted Avocado Tree
New avocado plants need frequent watering to help establish roots in the ground. It would be best if you made daily or so routine checks to ensure the soil is moist.
Once a planted avocado tree is well established, the need for frequent watering reduces. This is after a one-year mark, where you can water the tree once a week.
How Best Can I Irrigate Avocado Trees?
The main irrigation methods for avocado farming are drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation. Drip irrigation is best practiced when the drippers are placed close to the plant’s root system. Remember to change the position of the dripper as the plant grows.
Sprinkler irrigation is reportedly useful in improving avocado oil percentage and fruit size. Sprinklers are precise as they form a wetted pattern around the avocado’s root zone.
Can Water Quality Affect Avocado Trees?
Yes. Hard water increases the salinity of the soil, causing iron and zinc deficiency and, subsequently, chlorosis. In case your tap water is hard, opt for spring water or rainwater instead. Suitable water for avocado trees should contain less than 100 ppm of chloride salts.
Like all fruit-producing trees, avocado requires ample water to mature into the juicy, fleshy, and tasty fruit most of us love.
But avocado is a water-intensive crop. Therefore, a well-distributed and sufficient water supply is necessary to achieve high yields for many years.
The amount of water your specific tree needs will ultimately depend on the situation of the tree. The blog post above will help you understand the situation of your tree and how best to irrigate it from there.
Be sure to follow what you read and watch the seamless growth of your avocado tree. Cheers!