Excerpt from the article “2021 Pistachio Irrigation: Mitigation Strategies for Drought” by Mae Culumber, UC Cooperative Extension Nut Crop Advisor Fresno County and Daniele Zaccaria, UC Cooperative Extension Agricultural Water Management Specialist, on the San Joaquin Valley Trees and Vines Website.
California is in the midst of another drought and pistachio growers are bracing for another hot, dry growing season. Limited water supplies and increasing costs will lead to tough decisions about when is the most beneficial time to irrigate. Pistachios are known for their ability to withstand drought, but the severity and length of a dry spell can result in high percentages of blanks, low shell splitting percentages, and reductions in overall yield. These negative impacts can be partially mitigated through good water budgeting strategies, monitoring tree water stress levels, and implementing drought management techniques such as proportional decreases in water application throughout the season or regulated deficit irrigation at different stages in crop development. Read the whole article on San Joaquin Valley Trees & Vines for more resources and information on how to manage drought in your pistachio orchard.