Orchard Floor Management Practices to Reduce Erosion and Protect Water Quality

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Soil erosion is a common problem in orchards, especially where growers use sprinkler and flood irrigation systems. Water-induced erosion result in the transport of soil particles into downstream waterways. These sediments may carry unwanted pesticides and nutrients that adhere to them. One way to comply with the increasingly stringent agricultural water quality regulations under state and federal water policy is to implement management practices that reduce soil erosion.

In this publication we introduce multiple management options that you can use to reduce soil erosion in an orchard system. In many instances, certain specific orchard floor management practices may be more or less compatible with particular harvesting or cultivation practices. The options presented here offer you the opportunity to test a few alternatives and implement the practices that are best suited to your farm.

Anthony Toby O'Geen
Terry L. Prichard
Rachel Elkins
G. Stuart Pettygrove
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources