Watering your fruit salad tree in drought conditions
Watering fruit trees in drought conditions
It is extremely difficult to keep gardens well watered in drought conditions, and fruit trees are particularly thirsty plants. Here are some tips to make sure that your fruit tree has adequate water to survive these Australian conditions!
How do I know if my tree is suffering from drought stress?
The leaves may be smaller than normal, and can be curled. Deep watering is important as the water needs to reach the deep roots where it's needed.
Add a layer of mulch around your garden
Bare soil in garden beds around your fruit trees, allows a lot of soil moisture to be lost to evaporation. A 5-10cm cm layer of organic mulch (avoid wood chip) around the base of your fruit tree (keeping about 2 inches from the trunk) will prevent water applied to the soil from being wasted. If grass is growing too close to the trunk/rootstock of your fruit tree then your trees will get less nutrients for growing vigour. Good mulching practices not only retain water but also prevent weeds, stabilise soil temperatures and even add nutrients to soil!
Keep your lawns beyond the outer canopy of your trees and cover the area under trees with mulch.
Good soil health
We cant stress this enough - for your Fruit Salad Tree to grow well they need a good source of nutrients which they get from the soil. Having healthy soil during times of drought helps the soil hold moisture and makes your fruit tree more resistant to drought related diseases.
Good watering practices
When you water the garden, do so in the early morning to minimise evaporation and allow the roots of the tree to absorb the maximum amount of water before the heat of the day.
Re-use old soft drink bottles as funnels
A chopped-off milk container or empty plant pot can be half-buried near your fruit tree to help deliver any rainfall or hand-watering closer to deep roots.
This is a quick and efficient way to hand water during times of drought.
Simply cut off the base of each container, remove the lids and bury the necks of the containers about 8 cm deep near outer edge of the foliage of plants. Large shrubs may require several containers. Pour water into the container until it begins to drain slowly – an indication that you have dampened the soil in the root area.
What to look for when planting your fruit tree in pots during times of drought.
Watering your fruit salad tree regularly will avoid your potting mix drying out. If the potting mix does dry out, you will notice a narrow gap between the mix and pot; this causes any water that you apply to go directly down the gap and straight through the drainage holes.
Potting mix can become incredibly hot when pots are in full sun. During extreme heat conditions move pot plants to a cooler spot, including under trees. Grouping them together helps retain humidity around the plants and reduces water loss through the leaves.
Read more tips on growing your multi-grafted fruit tree in terracotta pots here.
Use grey water in your garden
You can re-use your grey water, which is water from the shower or basins, collected in a bucket, or water from the washing machine.
Look for detergents that don't have phosphates as they can be harmful to your soil and fruit tree.
Do not use grey water all the time on your fruit tree, rotate the water you use so that you are not watering your tree with grey water all the time.
As your tree grows, remove rootstock and balance your tree
Here at Fruit Salad Trees, we stock a wide range of fruit trees, which all boast different fruit on the same tree. Each fruit variety retains its own flavour, appearance and ripening time. We graft citrus, stonefruit and multi-apple trees.
Our fast fruiting trees can be grown in the ground, or in pots on your balcony.
Do you have any more ideas on how to make the most of water in your garden?
Do you have any more tips on making the most of your water in your edible garden? We'd love to hear them and see photos if you have any. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a reply in the comments below.