Water Conservation in the Home Orchard


A commercial pecan orchard in Texas irrigated with buried micro drip emitters.
Photo credit: USDAgov Flickr CC BY 2.0

Practicing water conservation isn’t just for the ornamental landscaper; commercial as well as home orchards can also be water wise and water efficient.

Ways to Conserve Water in Orchards

  • Perform a distribution uniformity test of your irrigation system
  • A distribution uniformity between 90-100% is considered a uniform system; this ensures that plants are watered evenly and more efficiently
  • This also helps

Water Conservation for the Small Fruit and Berry Garden

Berries and small fruits can be fun and rewarding to grow. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes are examples of small fruits that can be grown in the home garden.

Berries need plenty of water to set flower and fruit. The most effective way to conserve water in the berry garden is to irrigate small fruits and berries using a drip type system.

Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries

Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Photo author: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Water Conservation Practices for Vegetable Gardens

Ornamental plant varieties can be chosen based upon water use. Grass can be allowed to go dormant during dry seasons. However, choices for low water vegetable plants are limited. Thankfully, there are some water conservation practices that can increase water efficiency.

  • Adding organic matter in the form of compost, animal manure, grass clippings, and leaf mould are ways to improve the soil by increasing water holding capacity and improving soil structure.
  • Planting in blocks instead of rows creates

Water-Wise Herb Gardening

Water-wise herb gardening begins with an understanding of which commonly planted herbs are drought tolerant. Many water wise herbs commonly used in the United States originated from Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Asia.

Herbs have had a place in the garden for centuries. They have been used for medicine, dye for fabric, seasoning and flavorings for food and drink, and fragrance.

In medieval European gardens, perennial flowering plants and herbs were planted together near the kitchen for easy access. These …