Drought/irrigation methods

Rain has been lacking where I’m located as of late. I’ve been having to manually water, using 5 gallon buckets and a 275 gallon water tank in the bed on my truck. I’m interested in seeing if anyone uses extra long hoses, or soaker hoses to make the work of watering easier less time and labor consuming. Also do any of you use hose timers, if so which do you recommend. I’ve lost a few year old grafts due to the lack of rain, but I’ve been doing my best to keep things hydrated.

newly planted orchard rows , if in need of water, I put a 250 gal. Tank in the truck… Start a siphon in a 25 ft hose , rigged so that when I get in the truck I can hold a 6 ft x3/4 inch stick out the drivers side window with the water hose tied to it.
A full cooler of beverages. Radio, A/C on.
I drive from tree to tree , use the stick with hose tied to it out the window to put water where it needs to be.
Sip of a beverage , on to next tree.
A pump may speed this up .
But a “good” siphon seams about athe right , ,speed to me.
Try to put about 5-10 gal…more or less per tree.
Often into a pre made basin .( Fill --/, – move…)
This is fairly painless . I don’t like to carry buckets.
Actually ,these are memorable , good days, being productive ,
Comfortable ,kind of forced ( in a good sort of way ) to sit there, .at each tree, looking down a row…
…? ,!
of what will be…
Fruit everywhere h
…!.,? …!
So ,yah.!
Trucks, water tanks ,hoses , water, cold beverages,being productive and .— visions—
Gotta love it.


Thanks, I tried creating a boom using pvc, but I’d have to find a way to support the weight.

Little man will be a help in a few years.


I find that once they’re old enough to really help, they no longer will.


Same here Gary, but we’re not that far away from each other. I have a 210 Gal tank with a garden hose size tap at the bottom. I leave the hose at the nursery bed and hook it up when I get there. Then I set the nozzle so it won’t wash away the wood chips and let it run down the row. I have to move it down the row every few minutes. I’m putting down more wood chips to retain as much moisture as possible.

Do love it! I listen to Audible books a lot, while working.

I have the same problem - and no truck with tank.
So I drag hoses that I either attach to one of those multiple hook-up brass fittings to the main faucet . . . or take a hose out to the middle of the orchard - and attach the multiple hook-up thing to it . . . and hoses to that! A lot of work dragging all that crap around! I do a piece of the orchard at a time - but it’s nuts.

So - I am going to see what it would cost to sink a well - dedicated to the orchard - very close to the orchard - but accessible to electricity for the pump.

I’m not happy with drip hoses. I tried watering my blueberries that way. My raw water clogs them up in no time. But, I am thinking of trying my hand at ‘do it yourself’ PVC driplines. Or following ISON’s instructions. HOWEVER - that works great for grapevines . . . but between trees? Again - I fear the wrath of the mower monsters! I just know that they will tear the _______ out of my water lines.

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[quote=“PomGranny, post:6, topic:30077”]

(“I am going to see what it would cost to sink a well - dedicated to the orchard - very close to the orchard - but accessible to electricity for the pump.”)

Likely be cheeper / easyer to instal a burried line from existing house water system , to a frostproof hydrant in a suitable location in orchard.
The cost of a new well , pump, wires ,etc . Could be pricey


A stupid question I’ve always wanted to ask, and this seems like a good place to do it :laughing:

Manually watering established trees - where do you actually deposit the water? Right next to the trunk, just a random distance a bit away, somewhere on the drip line?
Talking about using a hose or something where you have to pick a single spot to put it.
Or for that matter, if placing drip emitters…

I have 8 100’ hoses to reach my “big” garden. Luckily it’s downhill so it doesn’t burn out our well pump.


Try building a rim, several inches high, to encircle the tree a foot or two beyond the drip. Sometimes called a bowl or some such, this will retain the water in an area above most the root zone. Hopefully, the crown is slighlty above grade so that water does not rest against the trunk for any length of time. If it will, simply construct another smaller ring around the trunk.
As for drip emitters, not sure they would be too helpful wrt established trees. Depending on soil type and climate they are arranged to cover an area so that percolation will provide moisture for the entire root zone or close to, with least possible watering areas with no vegetation.

Man, @AndySmith . . . I thought I was bad with 3!

It might be pricey . . .
but what’s the cost of a back operation, these days?
Might be worth the trade off. :smirk:

Just bucket watered my 70+ trees. We’ve had a drought and high 80’s-mid 90’s almost every day. Gotta keep my hard work alive. Man, some rain would be nice!

Garden Hose: Cheap is good. I have twenty dwarf apple trees in my backyard. In spring, I thread hose from one end to the other, snaking between each trunk. In fall, I wad it all up in the basement. In between, I don’t move it. I live on a sand dune, so irrigation is a given.

Emitters: I use 8liter/hr drip emitters (two per tree) punched into the hose. I run a little bit of drip line from each emitter under the plastic mulch with a bug-excluder on the open end. I’m never able to lay out the hose exactly the same, and the emitters are not where I’d like them to be from one year to the next, but the drip line allows me precisely to position the water on either side of each tree. I tape the end of the line down to the mulch.

Paraphernalia: You NEED a vacuum breaker at the hydrant. Also, you need a 30lb pressure reducer. The emitters work against pressure, which is about the same from end-to-end, up-and-down, so each tree gets a more-or-less equal shot.

Timer: I had a plastic mechanical shut-off flow meter once, but I let it freeze. The only things on the consumer market nowadays are battery-operated timers. I insert mine into the hose at the hydrant with quick hose couplers. I set mine for two hours and never give it a second thought. 2hrs * 40 * 8liter/hr * 0.26gal/liter ≅ 160gal … I think.

Irrometers: I don’t wait for the trees to look wilted. I have two soil-moisture guages: 18-inch deep and 36-inch deep side by side under a tree in the middle of the yard. These are mechanical roots. Low vacuum is wet. High vacuum is dry. Vacuum rises during the transpiration of the day. 10 to 15 lb in the morning is fine. When it is more than that, I start the irrigation.

The most exotic stuff are the irrometers.


Nice setup CRhode. Garden hoses can work very well. I have one that has been outside for over 20 yrs, mostly shaded, and it still works. Those battery powered timers also work well. I’m surprised how long the batteries last.

We pump water from our pond to four tanks in the orchard via several hundred feet of garden hose. Then it is carrying water in buckets to the young trees.

What drought? Pictures taken while standing in the middle of the mighty Mill Creek that flows (or doesn’t) through our property.


All things considered, I wish it was that green here!

My rainwater set up; 500 gl tank, small pump, lots of hose, run water uphill every 3 days. Duration of watering about 1/2 hour.


Before our hot, dry summer, we had a wet, cold spring.

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Are those Russian olives along the creek? We have those darn things in some areas here.