A UF/IFAS Regional Specialized Extension agent shared watermelon irrigation tips for North Florida watermelon growers.
According to Bob Hochmuth, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) regional specialized Extension agent out of Live Oak, Florida, irrigation management is essential for North Florida watermelon growers. It’s especially important as the region is listed as “either abnormally dry or moderately dry” per the U.S. Drought Monitor. He shared watermelon irrigation tips in a Specialty Crop Industry article. See them below.
Watermelon Irrigation Tips
Hochmuth’s watermelon irrigation tips included:
- Utilize Short Irrigation Cycles for Fertilizer Management: “Irrigation here early in the season means to me, if necessary, multiple, short irrigation cycles; no long events because all it’s going to do is push that water and whatever fertilizer that’s in that bed down deep into that bed,” he said.
- Use Soil Moisture Sensors: “Soil moisture sensors are a great tool to keep us on track. But we must have confidence in what properly placed and working sensors are telling us and how to interpret them,” Hochmuth said.
- Get Moisture in the Bed if Having to Lay Beds: ““The most critical thing early in the season is to try to have good moisture when they put the plastic down. A lot of this plastic was laid at a time when there was better moisture than there is right now. I wouldn’t want to be putting plastic down, as dry as it is right now, in a lot of this area, unless I have a pivot or have some way to get moisture in that bed. Putting up a dry bed is really not a good situation. It’s hard to re-wet that bed from shoulder to shoulder. It’s hard to wet it appropriately without a lot of that water moving down in the deep sandy profile,” he advised.
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