Unlike drip, full coverage irrigation provides water to the full root zone of a nut tree or fruit tree and offers enough moisture to promote the growth of cover crops in the alleyways of the orchard floor. Click here for the University of California's paper on cover crops.
Growing a healthy crop between rows in an orchard reduces the spread of noxious and nuisance weeds.
Full coverage irrigation gives you the opportunity to grow nitrogen fixing crops such as clover or vetch which can also be turned into the soil for organic material and nutrients. Resulting mulch improves water retention, reduces evaporative losses and reduces disease.
Growing a high-value cover crop like strawberries in a new orchard can bring in an income before the trees are able to produce a crop.
Making a home for pollinating and pest control insects in the orchard is a smart move on many levels. Biodiversity promotes healthy plant growth and fruiting and helps keep pests in check. A single ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids during its lifetime, while a honey bee can visit 5,000 flowers during its time on earth.
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