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Fruit tree water requirements 150 150 areinheimer

Fruit tree water requirements

Soil type will help you estimate water holding capacity (inches of water available to plants). Soil texture influences the water holding capacity of soils. The proportion and absolute amount of water available to the plant in coarse-textured, sandy soils is less than in fine-textured, clay soils, therefore clay holds the most water.

Each foot of soil depth holds:

Sands 1.0–1.5 inches of water
Loam 1.5–2.0 inches of water
Clays 2.0–2.5 inches of water


Water Management Guide for Temperate Fruit Trees

Citrus Growth Stages

• Flowering, Fruit Set and New Flush Development:
This growth stage must have optimum soil moisture. Even a slight water deficiency means that leaves are smaller, and the plant is not in its prime. Severe water deficiency results in poor leaf development, incomplete flowering, poor fruit set and a high rate of fruit drop (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center, 2003). The soil water tension reading should be 30 – 60 cBar.
• Fruit Development:
The remaining fruits now begin to develop, and it is during the late fruit development stage that citrus trees need their greatest amount of water because of the high transpiration rate. Not having enough water at this stage would inhibit photosynthesis. The water tension reading at this time should be between 60 and 90 cBar.
• Fruit Maturing Stage:

At this stage of fruit development the quality of the fruit is the concern. A high soil moisture content promotes vegetative growth which does not help the already existing fruit. In order to slow vegetative growth and improve reproductive growth, soil should be kept fairly dry, without any irrigation, roughly 80 to 95 cBar.
• After Harvest:
After the fruit is harvested, the tree requires a small amount of irrigation water; just enough to meet ET requirements, to restore tree growth back to its normal rate. A minimal amount of irrigation water will maintain photosynthesis in the leaves and help to avoid nutrient stress.


On a scale of 0 to 100 cb soil watertension, how wet is your field?

Our research has allowed us to determine the threshold SWT of various crops growing on silt loam under different irrigation systems. We found that irrigating at these critical values has significant benefits to crops.

Roughly speaking, a GMS reads the following scale of SWT for a medium-texture soil:

The SWT irrigation threshold varies not only by crop but also by soil texture, climatic factors, and irrigation method. The threshold values that maximize marketable yield are known for a wide array of commercial crops growing on different soils under different climatic conditions and irrigation systems (Tables 1–4, pages 7–9).

• > 80 cb indicates dryness.

• 20 to 60 cb is the average field SWT prior to irrigation, varying with the crop, soil texture, weather pattern, and irrigation system.

• 10 to 20 cb indicates that the soil is near field capacity.

• 0 to 10 cb indicates that the soil is saturated with water.

Point of deliquescence 150 150 areinheimer

Point of deliquescence

In foliar feeding it is important that the spray droplets remain liquid on the leaf as long as possible so that the plant may take them up.  The relative humidity below which a foliar will dry on the leaf and above which it will remain dissolved in water is called the point of deliquescence.

It has been found that the addition of humic acids to the spray will tend to lower the point of deliquescence, and allow the droplets to remain liquid longer.

Blossom end rot 150 150 areinheimer

Blossom end rot

Blossom end rot is not a calcium deficiency but rather a potassium excess.  Manganese is the regulator of potassium.  A foliar of chelated manganese along with fulvic acid will regulate potassium, either eliminating the deficiency in the plant or regulating down the excess.

With K or Ca excesses or functional deficiencies (i.e. when there are adequate amounts present in the soil) manage Mn and B.  Mn regulates K and B regulates Ca.

Note that Mn triggers reproduction

Irrigation water quality 150 150 areinheimer

Irrigation water quality

Water quality is very important.  150 ppm of dissolved solids can reduce “product” performance by 60-70%.  Bicarbonates and carbonates are the problem.

Biological mineralization 150 150 areinheimer

Biological mineralization

Plants form a symbiotic relationship with microbes around the growing root tips.  They seem to have a way to feed just the biology that will deliver the needed nutrients back to the plant.  The broad brusg view of how this works is as follows.

Plants exude sugars out of their roots and feed the biology.  The minerals necessary to build the microbes bodies are taken from the surrounding soil. For example, calcium is used for cell wall strength. The microbes die and leave chelated minerals in the soil where the roots need it. Roots take up the chelated minerals or else directly assimilate the microbes.  The minerals are then moved through the plants where they are needed, as regulated by hormones.


How to grow a tree to fruit in 2 years 150 150 areinheimer

How to grow a tree to fruit in 2 years

Grow a rootstock seedling in spring

Graft a bud

Plant it in enriched soil in raised beds if drainage is an issue

Give it microstem irrigation at the proper amount 

Give it lots of calcium with gypsum in the foliar feedings and in irrigation

Make sure the soil biology is working with biostimulants in the irrigation every week

Feed with Mn, P, seaweed and Ca for reproductive growth

To combine P and Ca use micronized rock phosphate


Apply Mn in the fall 4-6 weeks before leaf drop and during the spring at green-up.  Fulvic acid moves Mn from the leaves (and any applied to the bark) down into the roots.



Critical points of influence 150 150 areinheimer

Critical points of influence


9-12 days after emergence a corn plant determines the number of ears it will have.

At 14-21 days it determines the number of rows of kernels per ear.

At 42-45 days it determines the number of kernels per row.

Reduce stress at the critical points of influence.  Growth cycles between vegetative and reproductive dominance.  Critical points of influence occur when the hormone/nutrient balance in the plant shifts from vegetative to reproductive dominance.  Lack of nutritional integrity at these points triggers the breakdown of proteins into peptides and amino acids and creates disease/insect susceptibility.

For apples, pears, cherries, spur bearing trees this occurs at


shoot initiation

bud initiation

fruit fill


spur bud fill

Cobalt inhibits senescence by inhibiting ethylene production which delays maturity and senescence.  The result is uniform maturity.  Apply chelated cobalt at 50g / acre.

The most influential CPIs are:

  1. Reproductive bud determination/initiation (note that for fruit tress this can occur in the previous season, after harvest.)
  2. Bud embryo development
  3. Flowering
  4. Pollination
  5. Fruit cell division (This lasts 10-14 days and determines potential fruit size.  The number of cells is limited by calcium (Ca) availability.  Temperature stress can shorten this window. Seaweeds and cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn) and calcium (Ca) can extend the window.  Tomatoes are about 1/4″ in diameter at the end of this phase.)
  6. Fruit cell expansion (This lasts the remainder of the season and is limited by potassium (K) availability.  Turger pressure determines the firmness of the fruit.)

For this sequence to occur properly there must be adequate amounts of micronutrients including cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and boron (B) in addition to the macronutrients.

Optimum moisture is required for flowering, fruit set and new leaf development.  Any deficiency in water at this time will result in a loss of yield.


Epigenetics 150 150 areinheimer


Epigenetics — Environment determines genetic expression.

Environment is climate mediated by nutrition.

“Heredity is nothing more than stored environment” – Luther Burbank

“Everything that arises does so due to causes and conditions” – the Buddha (paraphrased)

John Kempf’s plant health pyramid 150 150 areinheimer

John Kempf’s plant health pyramid

Level 1 – Plants are able to create carbohydrates and transfer them to the root zone as root exudates.  This provides resistance to soil-borne pathogens such as fungal diseases like fusarium or verticillium.

Level 2 – Plants are able to form complete proteins.  This provides resistance to sucking and chewing insects.  Foliar sprays of Mg, S, Mo, B and molasses are helpful for control.

(Levels 1 and 2 are a function of balanced chemistry in the plant.

Level 3 – Plants are able to form high levels of lipids (fats).  Their leaves are shiny and they have a glow.  At this point they are resistant to airborne pathogens such as powdery mildew.

Level 4 – Plants are producing plant secondary metabolites (PSMs).  At this point plants are resistant to beetle attacks such as from Japanese beetles.