Water Conservation in the Home Orchard

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

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

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 avoid excess water application and runoff
  • Perform regular maintenance
  • Check for line breaks
  • Check for plugged emitters
  • Clean filters
  • Schedule watering time and amount to meet specific plant needs
  • Use soil moisture monitors
  • Know crop root depth and soil type
  • Adjust to the signs of stress on plants (wilting, yellow leaves)
  • Convert to a more efficient watering system
  • Micro-irrigation systems such as drip or micro-spray greatly reduces water loss

Additional Resources:


California – The California Home Orchard
Colorado – Micro-Sprinkler Irrigation for Orchards