Irrigation for Fruit and Vegetable Production
Precipitation in Pennsylvania averages about 37 inches each year. About 13 inches of this precipitation runs off land into streams, while 24 inches infiltrates into the soil, where it can be used by crops. The 24 inches of precipitation usually is sufficient for growing many agronomic and some horticultural crops. However, irrigation often is necessary because of the uneven distribution of precipitation throughout the year, especially during critical growth periods.
Uneven precipitation can cause plant stress during critical growth periods, which will affect both crop productivity and produce quality. Most horticultural crops require irrigation to minimize plant stress. Proper timing of water applications during appropriate periods can increase the yield and quality of most horticultural crops in Pennsylvania in most years.