Spring Rains

We count on the spring rains here in Kansas. I plant trees prior to the rain starting so the trees get off to a good start. Spring rains are a friend and enemy. With them you get the enemies fungus, bacteria and friends tree growth, fruit development. The heavy rains this year are overall a huge blessing to me because I have hundreds of new trees in the ground. I’ve been holding off on the rest of my grafting until the trees dry out. We’ve had rain everyday for about a week and about 2 1/2 - 3 inches have fell now this week. In the last two weeks we have received close to 5 inches so ponds are full again and the drought is over for now. The picture below is not a picture of a mud puddle this is how much rain came down and how long it takes the clay / loam soil to absorb it in certain areas. By the end of the day it will be mostly soaked in. More rain will be falling. How are your moisture levels?

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We have plenty of rain right now. I am not complaining so far, we do need some of it. At least it is not snow, we used to have snow during the cold spells in May. My concern is tomatoes, they are not happy now, but they bounce back as soon as the warmth come back.

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Experts say El Niño is ending, and La Niña is starting. Apparently “An El Niño is when ocean surface temperatures are warmer than normal along the equator from South America to the western Pacific Ocean. A La Niña is the opposite condition, with colder than normal ocean surface temperatures in that same region” http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2016/04/el_nino_ending_and_la_nina_wat.html. Usually that means we will get a nice warm dry mild summer and tomatoes and okra will produce like crazy in Kansas http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/la-nina/38971. My understanding is El Niño for us is extra moisture but Asia and Australia will be experiencing severe drought at the same time. That’s why I made a huge increase to my orchard this year because in theory it should be a wet spring which would start my trees off right. I technically should have planted trees in 2015 but I did not have the time or resources for that large of a planting. I realize I was gambling on experts being right about El Niño lasting into spring 2016 El Nino Still Strengthening, Likely Into Spring 2016, NOAA Says | The Weather Channel - Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com?escaped_fragment= but my next chance would have been 2-8 years from now. We had a drought prior to this rain and I thought I made a significant mistake about the estimated moisture available. Here is a visual of El Niño \ La Niña https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyPq86yM_Ic


Right now we need the rains to stop. I’ve had over 10" in the last week. I’ve got a couple trees I’m not sure will make it. Last year during the floods I lost over a dozen trees due to drowning. In Houston we had over 20" of rain in areas in 24 hours and now another 3-5" yesterday.

I’m 400 miles west of Houston and we’ve had 0.59 inch for the yr so far. That’s about 30% of normal. Long dry spells are normal here. At least weeds have been less than normal but more than you might expect.

Someday they may have a piping system Fruitnut and you could just turn on the sprinklers and Insteng can just turn on the pumps. There would be a lot less water concerns if that could be made to work without a lot of maintenance. You must use a deep well Fruitnut? Insteng do you plant trees on mounds now?

I live about 150 miles E-NE of Houston and things are going well here with some heavy rains, but most spaced 2-3 days apart, although there was serious flooding about a month ago along the Louisiana / Texas line with some places getting 17+ inches in under 24 hours, much like the floods in NW Houston a week or so ago. Thankfully the line of storms stopped about 5-10 miles west of here, we only had about 4-5 inches that day, and just another 5 or so miles east of me only had 2-3 inches.

Only about 60ft and neighbor is 500ft. So that bothers me a little but so far mine has only pumped air one time. I don’t run it more than 4 hrs per day at 10 gpm.

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The trees were planted on a slight slope the ground was just so saturated nothing would of helped. Last year a week after the floods you could walk out there and the ground would move like a sponge and you could watch the water bubble up out of the ground. This year is not quite as bad but I had to try to drain the water out of the garden this morning. My ponds are all overflowing and will be for the next month at least. You can see water bubbling up out of the pasture

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Hopefully Insteng your rain lets up there and heads towards Fruitnut.

Well, we are getting snow again. Probably end up with 6" of wet heavy stuff from this storm (quite a bit less than it might have been had the storm taken a different path).

I am getting a bit tired of winter weather. Our last storm’s snow had all melted and we even had a couple of fairly warm and sunny days before this latest one hit. But by and large it has been cloudy >50% of the time the last month; very unusual for us. Fortunately all the fruit trees are just waking up (bud swell) so no chance of damage, yet.

The long range forecasts I have heard predict a continuation of this wet el Nino pattern for us in the SW for the next couple of months, then a switch over to dry as La Nina takes hold. It’s nice getting the water, but it works just as well as rain :smile:. Dry late in the summer after lots of water in the spring usually means tall dry grasses during fire season. We’ll see…

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I’m probably about 150 miles or so north of insteng and 500 miles east of fruitnut. It’s very wet here but so far not as bad as last year. However last year the really bad stuff hit us in May. Ponds are full and ground is saturated. I’ve put out 10 trees this year, lost one, and pulled one out of the ground to try to save it (so far its okay). All the others are showing new growth. My garden is on a slope and drainage is working so far. Even so I’ve been out this morning raking in the mud trying to get air to below surface so my tomatoes and peppers etc don’t drown. Last year about July the rains stopped until October and it was parched here. At least my livelihood doesn’t depend on the weather…many farmers around here are hurting for the second year in a row. Katy


East Texas, wow what a difficult place, extreme flooding to extreme drought. I hope this May doesn’t bring what you got last yr. Sounds like you’ve had enough already. I prefer our droughts alternated with brief periods of good rains. Plus my soil will absorb an inch an hour all day long.

We’ve had several extreme years lately. 2011 was so dry that it killed a lot of trees and gave birth to a lot of fires that took even more out. Two years ago I could have planted a picture of a tree and it would have sprouted up and fruited. Then the last two years have been about floods between dry spells. I have always enjoyed my veggie garden but have just recently branched out to fruit. It has me even more tied into the weather…:confused: BTW Alpine is beautiful!


Sounds like you are close to my ranch. I actually live in Katy just west of Houston but I have a ranch in Buffalo between Houston and Dallas. Last year was really bad. Luckily I am the same way. I don’t depend on money I make to live off of. I make enough to pay for my trees and anything I need to grow my orchard and garden.

Yes, I am in Athens which is only about 70 miles from Buffalo. It’s been crazy. I’m hoping May does not do what it did last year. We got about 30" of rain in May last year.
What are you growing?

As far as fruit I have peaches, pears, pecans, apples, plums, nectarines, almonds, pomegranates, blackberries, and figs. In the garden I have everything from tomatoes, potatoes, squash, peppers, onions, cucumbers, beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin, greens, etc… I have several varieties of most.


Looks like El Niño is back

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Hopefully it benefits us soon with moisture. It has been very dry here.

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Here as well, it has rained here in the last few days though

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