Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Sub-surface irrigation with clay pots in citrus
Recognize the problem
Citrus cultivation is profitable and provides farmers with
income. Citrus provide the much-needed vitamin C and other elements for good
body function. Unfortunately, many small
scale farmers do not venture into this business due to the lack of irrigation
systems for their trees. But citrus
needs considerable water, particularly during fruiting. Therefore, quantity and
quality of fruits is not reached.
The clay pot technology is used to slowly provide water to
citrus trees in the dry season. A water-filled clay pot is put into the soil
near the citrus roots, and releases the water slowly. It works in loamy and sandy soils but not in
moistens the soil around the pot near the roots, and the tree has enough
water at all times. There is no need
any more to daily fetch for water.
Build clay pots using very
fine clay preferably from an ant hill, as it also includes sand. The reddish
clay is better than the grey one.
Sometimes, clay pots are made from a mixture of clay and sand in the
ratio of 4:1.
- Make the clay wet so
that pots can be made by hand. They
are of 5 to 12 litres volume.
- Let the pots dry very well
in a sunny place for at least a month.
- If you buy such pots, they
must be unglazed, and only half-burned or non-burned.
- Otherwise they will not
- Once the pots are dry, dig
a small hole in the ground (one to fit the pot) very close to each citrus
- Put the pot into the hole.
- Burry the pot leaving the
- Fill the pots with water
up to the bream.
- Cover the top of the pot,
for example with a cloth, or any other cover.
- Such a pot will provide
water for a week, in dry hot weather for 3 to 5 days.
- The pots remain
functional for a year up to few years. Then they will decompose and must be
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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