What is moisture charging irrigation and how to use it correctly?
In this article, we will talk about moisture-charging irrigation of fruit crops, which, I think, many gardeners neglect, especially in rainy autumn. It seems to many that the rain that thundered on the roof all night can wet the soil to a sufficient depth, and you can do without using additional artificial watering without spending extra money on water. But no, you can’t, and we’ll tell you why and teach you the right water-charging irrigation.
- What could be dangerous lack of water-charging irrigation in the fall?
- Is there any harm from water-charging irrigation?
- What is water-loading irrigation for?
- When do you need to do moisture charging irrigation?
- How much water is needed for moisture charging irrigation?
- Water recharge irrigation technique
What could be dangerous lack of water-charging irrigation in the fall?
The fact is that along with summer rains, which often spoil our outdoor recreation, arid autumn periods began to be observed more often. We observe and enjoy the golden autumn, the drying and yellowing leaves on the trees from which the crops were harvested, birches and poplars, which, it seems, a little bit, but still prematurely begin to dump the foliage, and enjoy the rustling of it underfoot, walking along alleys and completely not thinking about the fact that during this period the trees ask us for help and just become weary of thirst.
In fact, the moisture deficit in preparing plants for a harsh and very long winter period is sometimes worse than drought, even during the growing season, when food is also supplied through photosynthesis. That is, from the sun, and it can stimulate the growth of the root system into deeper layers of the soil, where water may still have remained. But in the fall there are no leaves and only you and irrigation water (or rains if they are really plentiful and go on for hours, not minutes) can help the roots grow and prepare the plant for winter.
Moisture-recharging irrigation can solve the problem of drought in the autumn period and prepare plants for a long winter period and successful wintering. It would seem that everything is logical, clear and understandable, but for some reason the debate about the need for water-charging irrigation does not subside, there is a whole galaxy of gardeners who flatly refuse to believe in its effectiveness and even say that water-charging irrigation can harm plants.
You should not trust such statements, although there is still a small fraction of the truth in harm to plants.
Is there any harm from water-charging irrigation?
The harm may lie in excessive overmoistening of stone fruits, the root neck of which is a sore spot. It is important, when carrying out water-charging irrigation, to achieve that after the water is absorbed, it is relatively dry around the root neck.
In no case should water accumulate and stand for a long time, otherwise it will lead to rotting of the root neck, its decay and may even cause the death of stone fruit. And what is most interesting, almost at any stage of its development, that is, both a small plant and a high giant. Be careful here, and after water-loading irrigation, it is better to loosen the soil around the root neck once more, very carefully so that the excess water comes off.
Naturally, this applies to all representatives of stone fruit crops, for those who do not know, this is not only ordinary and steppe cherries and cherries, but also apricot, cherry plum, plum, both sandy and Ussuri.
Therefore, if you are not confident in your abilities and are afraid precisely for these crops, then it is completely possible either to reduce the volume of water poured out by half, or even do without water-charging irrigation of stone fruits.
In addition, the harmfulness of recharging irrigation on soils where water is very poorly absorbed and stagnates at the roots for a long time has been proved, which can cause them to rot (these are heavy clay soils, for example). It is rather dangerous to pour a lot of water in lowered areas, where it already sometimes accumulates a lot of water from the surrounding areas, as well as in those areas where groundwater is located above two meters from the soil surface.
So, we told you about the dangers of water-charging irrigation. Perhaps these are the only negative factors that can happen to plants if you water them in the fall, and even then only with stone fruits and only on certain, you can even say, strictly defined, soil types. But if you still have those who do not believe in the benefits of water-charging irrigation, we suggest you conduct a simple experiment.
For example, six apple trees grow on your site, pour three of them as we advise in the future, and leave three without watering and evaluate next year the parameters of apple trees, growth, yield, weight of apples, taste and even the number of diseases and pests that were on those and other apple trees.
After all, it is no secret to anyone that if a plant overwinter without problems, then it will retain immunity, and if not for everyone, it can withstand some of the diseases and pests. You can not say about the apple tree, which literally survived all winter, waiting for the long-awaited warmth.
What is water-loading irrigation for?
So, we proceed to clearer actions, and first we’ll tell you what effect the autumn water-charging irrigation has on the plants.
1. Help root growth in the fall
Probably few people know, but in the autumn period, not all of course, but usually in September and most of October, a very intensive growth of the plant root system is observed. Especially at this time, the absorbing roots most needed by the plant are actively developing.
Through the development of absorbent roots in the autumn period, the accumulation of reserve nutrients in plants, wasted during the fruiting period and those that are simply necessary for their normal existence in the winter, continues. The most diverse substances, we will not go into details now.
Of course, everyone knows that a plant is capable of absorbing nutrients only in dissolved form, alas, it, alas, cannot suck anything out of a dry lump of soil, otherwise we would live a lot calmer. Consequently, in this period that is most important for plants, the soil simply must not only be slightly moist, but well moistened and it is at the depth of this suction root system, and not where the roots of wheat grass and dandelion grow.
If the soil is dry, then the growth of the suction root system may be critically slowed down or absent altogether. Where it leads? Nothing good: plants will be weakened, immunity will be reduced, they will be prepared in the worst way for winter and the likelihood of freezing in winter will be at the maximum level.
It will be a question here not of the tips of unripened shoots (this is all a trifle), but of the freezing of entire branches or the death of all the trees as a whole. Often during harsh winters, entire apple orchards died only because of the fact that nobody even thought about water-charging irrigation: they say, why drive cars and spend extra money.
2. Water will keep warm
Yes, oddly and surprisingly, but the soil, properly spilled with water to great depths, freezes much more slowly and not at such depths as dry soil or one where there is a moisture deficit. Speaking in scientific terms, the heat capacity of the soil saturated with moisture is higher, the more this moisture in the soil and, of course, many times higher than dry soil.
Consequently, the carried out autumn water-charging irrigation retains heat much longer in the soil, freezes very slowly and thaws extremely slowly.
Skeptics will think: the soil is moist and thaws more slowly !? Yes, it’s absolutely true, but it is precisely during the periods of provocative winter thaws, when the sun does not bake like in the spring, but only briefly exposing its rays. And if the soil is dry, then it can begin to warm up, especially in areas poorly covered with snow, and provoke a revitalization of the root system, which after a sharp drop in temperature will then have a very negative effect on it.
But on the soil, well watered in the fall, the roots will not even notice this, during the thaw period, the soil simply will not have time to completely melt.
3. Do not allow winter draining
Only a small number of professional gardeners know that autumn water-charging irrigation can easily prevent such a very unpleasant phenomenon as winter drying. This negative phenomenon is sometimes even worse than frost. How does this happen? Even in winter, shoots still evaporate moisture; although these processes are barely noticeable and excessively slowed down, but they are, especially from the side of the tree, which is facing south.
In the absence of moisture in the soil in autumn, the root system was unable to store the plant tissues with moisture in advance, and now that the roots are not working, the plants spend their last reserves. Therefore, we often notice completely dried up shoots on the south side of the tree, sometimes rejoicing that winter was with a lot of sunny days - this is the result.
Draining is especially severe when the sky is clear and clear, a piercing icy wind blows and the period is close to spring, that is, to March or April: during this period, the sun is already warming properly, (you can even sunbathe on the roof).
In the same case, if in the autumn period there is enough moisture in the soil, especially at a depth of 0.6 meters for shrubs and up to two meters for trees, then this problem can be safely avoided.
4. Little moisture in the spring? No problem!
Well, in conclusion, before we talk about how, when and how much moisture needs to be poured out, we will talk about another plus of autumn water-charging irrigation - this is spring moisture deficiency. Yes, yes, this happens and often; winters are not always snowy, and sometimes the snow does not melt, but literally evaporates and not so much moisture enters the soil as we would like. Therefore, it is impossible to rely on spring and natural moisture-charging irrigation and not replace it with artificial.
In general, there are a lot of options for trees in spring to be without water: this is not only the rapid evaporation of snow, but also, for example, snow falling on frozen soil, when meltwater simply flows from not melted even deeper layers, and so on.
Here you need to go to the garden, trample, hold, hold, in general, waist-deep or knee-deep in the snow, try to leave all this (frozen so far) water or most of it in the area or carry out the same water-charging irrigation, but in the spring.
When do you need to do moisture charging irrigation?
You should not hurry, you can usually start water-loading irrigation from the end of September, for example, in the center of Russia - this is the twentieth of the month. Don’t pay attention to the rains, they’re unlikely to wet the soil as much as we need, and if it rains and you water the soil, then let all the neighbors laugh, we will laugh in spring or autumn at their harvest or frozen trees.
In that case, if the summer was arid, for example, the same year of 2010, then water-loading irrigation can be safely postponed for 10-12 days, otherwise trees that have come to life, literally after clinical death, can start growing, we do not need this at all. In any case, we are waiting for a massive leaf fall (when more than half of the leaves are already on the ground) and proceed to watering.
A number of gardeners take too much time with irrigation and spend it in October or even later. This is not good, remember, at the very beginning we talked about the growth of the root system? So, the less time you leave to let it grow until the soil freezes, the less moisture will accumulate in the tissues, and part of the absorbing roots may even die by October drying up if there is little moisture in the soil. It is clear that this will not affect anything good on plants in spring.
How much water is needed for moisture charging irrigation?
It is possible to moisten only the top layer, but there will be no sense from this, so since they have begun to water, do it in a quality manner. For example, in order to sufficiently wet the deepest layers of a sufficiently drained soil having a low groundwater location, approximately one hundred liters of water per square meter should be poured. But this is on average and not at a time. It all depends on the soil and on the age of the plant.
Let's start with the age when the tree is less than five years old: half of this “dose” is quite enough for it, and watering can be carried out not just one day, but two or three. But if the tree is more than a dozen years old, it has a wide and spreading crown, then, on the contrary, the dose can be doubled, but again, stretch the watering for at least a couple of days so that the water is absorbed into the soil and not spread over the site.
Then the weather - if the autumn is dry, then watering can be increased by 25-30%, and if it rains daily, then reduce by 30%. Clay soils, as we wrote above, in order to avoid troubles, it is better not to touch them at all, add 15-20 percent on sandy ones to the initial norm.
Water recharge irrigation technique
You can safely say "whatever" and put an end to it. But in fact, a lot depends on the type of soil and how actively the moisture is absorbed. Try not to pour on and around the trunk. Step back from the center of 12-15 centimeters and calmly water the soil from the hose or carry buckets so as not to make a mistake with the quantity if someone likes accuracy.
If the soil is heavy, then you can cheat, given that water is poorly absorbed. Then, along the perimeter of the crown, carefully, trying not to damage the roots, make wells by driving the stakes to a depth of about a meter and then taking them out. The width of the stakes should be larger, at least 15-20 centimeters, so that a maximum of water can be poured into them and not wait for a long time until it is absorbed.
If the soils are flat, chernozems, loams, sandy loam, gray forest soils, and so on, it is enough to put a hose under the crown, stepping back from the trunk the distance indicated by us and follow the water consumption meter for how much it has been spent.
If the soil is too loose, literally sandy and the hose can erode the roots, then you have to stand with the hose and spray it throughout the trunk (you can only sympathize and hope that you have few trees).
In conclusion, about those who do not have a water meter. Everything is simple: take a stopwatch (it is in every phone), put the hose in a bucket and press start, as soon as the bucket is full, press the finish, so you will understand how many seconds or minutes (it all depends on pressure) your bucket will be filled . It remains to count how many minutes it takes to lie down the hose in the near-barrel lane, drinking coffee and looking out of the window at how the soil is enriched with the necessary, or rather, extremely necessary moisture!