Irrigation – Preparing to Water

Irrigation – Preparing to Water

Early in the year, around March or April, the GreenFriends Farm team begins preparing to water the orchard that includes over 800 trees.

Water is expensive. Whenever there is rain, it is collected in various ponds on the property. Ensuring there are no leaks is a critical task. Early preparation involves clearing areas around the water stakes, irrigation lines, and drip system.

In May, each line is checked and drip lines are attached to stakes. This is a technique used throughout the orchard.


Using ollas is an ancient technique that originated in China and North Africa more than 4,000 years ago. It uses unglazed ceramic pots, which are buried in the soil at the root zones of the plants.

Water is poured, or in our case, drip irrigated, into the thin neck of the olla twice a week. Through osmosis, the water is delivered continuously to the roots of the plants with no evaporation. The roots naturally seek out the water and grow toward the source of water in the olla.  


Deep stake water delivery is the latest water conservation method being introduced to the GreenFriends Farm orchards, and it is as modern as the ollas are ancient. Perforated pipes that are 24 to 36 inches long are drilled into the ground around the canopy line of the tree. Water is introduced into the piping via ‘spaghetti line’ drip irrigation and delivered directly to the root zone of the fruit trees. 

The lines from the stake connected to the drip are regularly checked. Where necessary the connectors at the drip are replaced.

Drip line connection.

Attachment to the stake.

When the lines in a section are correct, the water for that section is started. Each connector is then checked for any leaks. In very rare situations an underground pipe leaks. This year, we found a leak and exposed the pipe. We then just a section of the pipe and installed a new joint, and repeat the test.

Sections. The orchards are divided into sections. Each section is controlled by a timing system. This allows for increased flexibility and maintenance.