Hazelnut trees obtain moisture from the upper soil layer (top 60 cm) more rapidly than the lower regions of the soil. Established hazelnut trees will tolerate relatively dry soils, but growers in BC have noted a larger percentage of empty nut shells following extended periods of dry weather, significantly reducing crop yield. Irrigation can help offset the effects of extended period of dry weather.
The two most commonly used irrigation systems are:
- Trickle tape or drip irrigation: uses less water, efficiently wets the root zone depth, and it is generally cheaper to install but must be properly maintained to prevent blockages.
- Under tree mini-sprinklers with a micro spray or micro-jet feature
Irrigation systems should be designed and installed prior to plant establishment. A custom irrigation plan, specific to the grower’s water requirements, water source, and quality of materials, automation and budget can be created with the assistance of an irrigation company. Irrigation lines should be easily accessible, monitored and maintained to ensure the proper distribution and apportioning of water through the growing season. Some orchards have installed on-farm weather stations that are helpful in automating the irrigation frequency.
Note: Consult with irrigation companies for advice on how to set up irrigation systems for hazelnut orchards