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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Orchard water use and soil characteristics

Published source details

Prichard T., Sills W.M., Asai W.K., Hendricks L.C. & Elmore C.L. (1989) Orchard water use and soil characteristics. California Agriculture, 43, 23-25


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Water: Plant or maintain ground cover in orchards or vineyards Mediterranean Farmland

A replicated, controlled study in 1984–1986 in two irrigated almond orchards in California, USA, found higher water use in plots with ground cover, compared to plots without ground cover. Water use: Higher water use was found in plots with ground cover, compared to control plots, in 10 of 12 comparisons (16–41 vs 14–32 inches of seasonal water use). Implementation options: Lower water use was found in plots with bromegrass, compared to clover or resident vegetation, in one of two orchards (27–32 vs 31–41 inches of seasonal water use). Methods: In two orchards (one newly planted, and one mature), plots with and without ground cover were compared (number and size of plots not reported). Bromegrass, clover, or resident vegetation were grown as ground cover, and herbicide was used in control plots. Water use (change in water content between irrigations) was measured with neutron probes (9–120 inches depth, five measurements/tree/plot on about 17 days during the growing season: 1984 and 1986 in the new orchard, and 1985–1986 in the mature orchard).