How does rainfall affect citrus?
This year in the Valencia area we have had days with almost torrential rains. In fact, this type of late summer storms are very typical here. But have you ever wondered how rains can influence the growth and health of citrus trees?
Benefits of Rains
September rains are a boon to citrus in many ways:
- Hydration: The rains provide needed hydration to citrus trees after a hot summer. This is essential for fruit growth and overall tree health.
- Dust Washing: The rains help remove dust and dirt from the leaves of the trees, allowing them to photosynthesize more efficiently. In addition, considering that no products are put on the oranges, they also stay clean.
- Nutrients: They bring additional nutrients to the soil, which are absorbed by citrus roots, strengthening their root system and improving fruit quality.
Risks of Excess Rainfall
While rainfall is beneficial, too much rain can lead to problems:
- Flooding: Excess water can flood citrus roots, causing root rot and severe damage. Sometimes, growers themselves have to remove water from the fields because they do not drain naturally.
- Excessive Moisture: High amounts of moisture can increase the risk of fungal diseases, such as mildew and rot.
- Decreased Flavor: Too much water can dilute the flavor of citrus, making the fruit less flavorful. By having more water inside them, they absorb some of the excess water on the tree, as if you were adding water to the juice.
How to Protect Your Citrus
To protect your citrus from the negative effects of September rains, here are some tips:
- Proper Drainage.Make sure your trees are planted in well-drained soil to avoid waterlogging. The quality of the soil is very important, that's why in Valencia you can grow so well.
- Pruning and TreatmentsPruning: Perform adequate pruning to maintain air circulation and reduce the risk of diseases. Natural ventilation is very important to avoid excessive humidity. This type of action helps to reduce the application of preventive fungus treatments, for example.
- Irrigation ControlBalance is key. When it rains a lot, irrigation should be reduced as much as possible so that the soil does not suffer from excess water.
- Constant MonitoringAs has been done all our lives, the moment it is feasible to approach the orchard, we must go immediately to check the situation. And in the following days, pay special attention to the trees for signs of problems, such as yellow leaves or rotting.
Basically, the rains, especially the September rains, can be both friend and foe. With proper care, you can reap the benefits and minimize the risks. As Valencian farmers have always done, keep one eye on the sky and one on the trees.