With our apple orchards on the mountain, we are in a different situation than in the valley. The soil on the Ritten is mostly sloping and not always consistently deep.
Two things result from this: excess water tends to run off, and waterlogging in the root zone is not normally a problem for us. However, it can lead to the death of the plants if it persists for a long time. Additionally, it is difficult to determine how much water can be stored because the soil structure is highly irregular.
Therefore, we use sensors that show us the moisture content of the soil. The information we obtain is a valuable complement to visual inspection. When I walk through the apple orchards during a dry period in midsummer, I can tell how the trees are doing by looking at the leaves. If it is very dry, the leaves will curl up at the edges because the tree reduces its respiration and the fluids move inward.
The plants then become thirsty and need water. We use a drip irrigation system: a hose runs along the row of trees at about 20 cm in height. At each tree trunk, the hose is perforated, and water drips directly into the root area. It is brought to where it is needed, and little is lost through evaporation, leaving the aisle dry.
However, our water primarily comes from the sky in the form of rain, dew, and snow. The latter is also a good protection for sensitive root areas during the winter months. The soil hardly ever freezes beneath the snow cover. The roots rest during the winter and gather strength for the next year.
If there is little rain for an extended period during the summer, we can take the necessary water from our community's reservoirs for agriculture.
At present, we already notice that 2023 will be a late year. We had extremely little precipitation in winter, and vegetation is awakening slowly. Usually, around this time, I can observe the buds swelling, but currently, there is little happening.
Nevertheless, my experience has taught me that every year is different and that spring and summer can change everything.