It has been an interesting summer for us. Well that is one way of describing it. Certainly the driest year in the 26 years we have been settled in Tasmania,
We have been continually irrigating our row crops with mixed results. It is very difficult wetting sandy soil. The more you water the more likely you are to remove the nutrients that the plant needs. With rainfall the mechanism is different and the nutrients outside the rootzone can migrate back to the plant. We have had a couple of showers one of 30mm and the improvement in growth for the strawberries was impressive. But alas that was some time ago and now it is back to the dry conditions.
The main orchard is some distance away from the farmhouse and much higher. It is on a north facing slope on sandy soil with hard pan less the a metre below the surface. Very poor soil obvious by the lack of vegetation outside the paddock. Even the bracken is having a hard time this year. Gums trees have also been dying. But inside the paddock we grow apricots, plums, citrus and other trees. The citrus have really struggled with many dying. These are shallow rooted trees and thus much more susceptible to drought.
A different story for the apricots. Picked a couple of tons this year versus a negligible pick last year. Quality was very good too. Apricots unlike citrus have a deep root structure as they obviously liked these harsh conditions. There were so many that at least 8 tonnes were left and dropped to the ground.