How to manage irrigation in pomegranate?

Irrigation in pomegranate
Irrigation in pomegranate

This blog carries in-depth details about irrigation in pomegranates, water management challenges and ways to overcome them.

A healthy Pomegranate crop hugely depends on timely irrigation, plant protection management, and fertiliser application. But particularly, irrigation is a significant determinant of a healthy harvest as it directly or indirectly controls crop yield, fruit size, fruit quality, and even disease and pest attacks.

Pomegranate is a water-sensitive crop. Hence, the drip irrigation method is more suitable and popular for this crop. It also helps save water and maintain uniform soil moisture levels to avoid weed growth and the spread of diseases.

Irrigation in pomegranate
Irrigation in pomegranate

Table of content

Water management challenges for pomegranate crop:

The pomegranate crop is susceptible to over and under-irrigation, and it does not like waterlogging, nor can it withstand dry conditions. Hence giving the right amount of water at the right time becomes very important to grow a healthy crop.

Over-irrigation:

Flood irrigation methods or frequent water supply in the field can very easily cause over-irrigation in your pomegranate crop. Over-irrigation leads to excessive soil moisture, which can directly affect soil aeration. Soil aeration is essential for the root system to breathe. Lack of soil aeration can result in root rot.

Moreover, the excess soil moisture invites various pests and soil-borne diseases in your crop. Fruit cracking and wilting are among some common problems seen due to over-irrigation.

Fruit cracking in pomegranate
Fruit cracking in pomegranate

Under irrigation:

Under irrigation leads to water deficits that decrease vegetative and fruit growth rates. These water stress conditions in pomegranate trees cause immature fruit drops and reduced fruit size and quality at critical stages of growth.

Studies show that the relative yield for selected cultivars decreased by 24% when irrigation water volume was decreased to certain units. Also, if the soil is water deficient for several seasons, it can reduce long-term orchard productivity. Thus water in appropriate quantity is essential for pomegranates.

How much irrigation is required in pomegranates?

Regular irrigation is necessary for newly planted plants so that the roots can establish themselves and the plants can begin to grow. The plants receive daily or weekly irrigation. When planting is done in the northern region of India in the spring, it is crucial to water often every 7 to 10 days until the monsoon season starts. When there is a prolonged period of no rain, irrigation may be used in areas where planting takes place during the monsoon. The plants can tolerate substantial drought once they have established themselves, which takes about six months.

Irrigation can be provided at intervals of 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the soil, environment, weather, and growing intercrops. Drip irrigation increasingly assists farmers in increasing yields.

Since unpredictable moisture conditions induce the falling of flowers and small fruits, frequent irrigation is essential from the blossoming to fruit maturity stages. Additionally, it may cause mature fruits to develop cracks, which would decrease their marketability and consumer acceptance.

Irrigation requirement in pomegranates (litres per day)

Irrigation in the initial growth years is crucial for pomegranate trees. Thus it is essential to keep a close eye on the irrigation schedule of pomegranates. The following table shows a pomegranate tree’s water requirement for five years in litres per day.

MonthsWater
Requirement
(litres/day)
Ist year2nd year3rd year4th year5th year
January2.70 7.5920.93 29.9038.87 
February  2.8310.3928.6640.9553.23
March2.9611.1031.0844.4057.72
April  3.2412.1534.0248.6063.18
May  3.4012.7535.7051.0066.30
June1.99 7.6921.95 31.3540.75
July  1.545.9416.9424.20 31.46
August  1.545.9416.9424.2031.46
September1.335.1314.6320.9027.14
October 1.576.0718.9027.0035.10
November1.806.7518.9027.0035.10
December1.686.3017.6425.2032.76
Water requirement in pomegranate

How to solve the water management challenges in pomegranate crops?

Precision irrigation:

Precise irrigation is necessary for the pomegranate crop for commercial crop production. It involves the application of water and nutrients to the crop in sufficient volumes at the right time.

Precision irrigation can be applied in the pomegranate field by deploying soil moisture sensors that help know the soil’s exact water requirement at the root zone. Hence, precise quantities of water can be applied to the soil.

Giving the exact quantities of water needed by the crop can help avoid the conditions of over and under-irrigation and can also help you save a lot of water in the long run.

Precision irrigation in pomegranate
Precision irrigation in pomegranate

Avoid moisture stress:

Moisture stress at certain critical stages, like flowering and fruit set, can lead to yield losses. During the fruiting stage, uniform soil moisture is required. Frequent and drastic variation in soil moisture leads to the cracking of fruits, amounting to heavy economic loss.

Irrigating the crop based on the exact moisture level in the root zone can prevent the crop from going through any water stress. Drip irrigation systems can be installed to maintain uniform soil moisture in the root zone.
Drip irrigation systems can be installed to maintain uniform soil moisture in the root zone.

Drip irrigation in pomegranate
Drip irrigation in pomegranate

How Fasal helps manage irrigation in pomegranate crop?

  • The water requirement of the pomegranate plant can not be decided only by one or two factors, but it depends on several aspects like the type of soil, climate, region, humidity, stage of the crop, etc.
  • Fasal is a complete package of crop intelligence that monitors all these factors and helps you take day-to-day farm decisions with utmost precision.
  • The Fasal system forewarns you of any possible rainfall in the next 14 days, which helps you make better irrigation decisions.
  • Every Fasal system is equipped with soil moisture sensors that alert you as and when the soil is required to be irrigated.
  • These sensors also help you with the right amount of water for irrigation based on the exact soil moisture measurements.

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