Rainfed agriculture refers to the type of plantation that does not require the human being to carry out the irrigation process with water, using only rainwater, making the most of the existing moisture in the soil. It is a type of agriculture that takes place in semi-arid regions where the average annual rainfall is less than 500 mm. To ensure profitable rainfed agriculture, plant germination and growth require efficient and efficient use of soil moisture. The rainfed trees are those that are grown in this type of agriculture.
For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you everything you need to know about rainfed trees, their characteristics and some examples.
Due to the nature of the rainfed agriculture system, it has a series of very specific characteristics as it is totally opposed to irrigated agriculture:
- Rainfed agriculture is limited to areas with little rainfall, or it occurs only at certain times of the year, such as countries with four seasons of the year.
- For rainfed plantation applications, monoculture is used, that is, a single plant is grown at a time, and crops are rotated or replaced every three years.
- Fertilize the soil, using organic fertilizers, obtained through a biological process of controlled decomposition, commonly known as compost or compost, to provide the soil with all the nutrients it needs to absorb plants.
- The impact on the environment is minimal and therefore sustainable in the long term. Very little labor is required.
The advantages of rainfed agriculture are the following:
- Sustainable rainfed agriculture takes place during the rainy season, which allows large extensions of land to be cultivated, without using excessive labor to carry out all the tasks of planting, caring for and harvesting the plantation.
- Increases soil fertility, It helps protect the environment and saves a lot of drinking water.
- Rainfed plantations make better use of the land in environments that cannot be cultivated due to lack of water or irregular terrain.
- If the rains are scarce due to climatic factors, some crops can survive because some plants can absorb the moisture stored in the soil, even in previous rainy cycles.
But it also has some disadvantages:
- Rainfed agriculture can be seriously affected by possible climatic phenomena, since the plants can dry out due to lack of water, or be damaged by excess of it.
- Sudden changes in temperature are another risk factor for traditional rainfed agriculture, since the increase in heat reduces soil moisture and the cold oversaturates the land.
- Productivity can be affected by climatic phenomena and changes that will significantly affect the regions that depend on these crops.
To determine which crops are the most profitable for sustainable rainfed plantations, several factors must be considered, such as soil type, land expansion and other factors to choose the most profitable. Among the fruit trees, we can point out the recent popularity of the almond, olive and carob trees as favorites. Vegetables and legumes and cereals also stand out.
Characteristics of rainfed trees
The choice of rainfed trees depends not only on the dryness of the climate, but also on the temperature, of course. He worked in the Mediterranean region, as well as temperate drylands and fragile tropical climates, with some crossbreeding in some but not in others. Dry land is one in which there is less than 500 mm of precipitation. But we also have to recognize that there are climates that we consider arid because they are vulnerable climates. So while they may be slightly above that, southern Spain in 2016-17 (600mm of rain), they are fragile climates, hovering around 7 months with little or no rain, occasionally intensifying in the summer months.
These trees photosynthesize fairly efficiently and close their stomata to reduce water loss through evaporation. I also have to take into account that its fruits need less water to grow. This means that rainfed trees can tolerate fairly long periods without rainfall without suffering any damage.
Drought tolerant fruit trees
Apart from rainfed trees, there are also fruit trees capable of tolerating drought. Let's take a look at some of the best examples:
Dates are a tree responsible for producing fruits, which usually ripen in September and look like olives or even dates. When completely fresh, its flesh is light green in color and very similar in texture and flavor to an apple. It can also be made dry or in jam. It is an endemic Ibero-African fruit tree. It is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean region, but also in North Africa.
The strawberry tree is a beautiful dryland perennial fruit tree whose fruit ripens in autumn. Its growth is moderate, or rather slow. The most important characteristic of this tree is that it is very resistant to cold. Its fruits are small, spherical berries, only about 2 cm in diameter. These fruits are edible and are actually so delicious that they can even be used to make drinks. It is also a very beautiful tree with ornamental uses in the garden.
Plum trees are among the easiest rainfed fruit trees to grow. Originally from Persia and the Caucasus, it can reach a height of 6 or 7 meters. It perfectly resists heat and is perfect for climates without much water. These characteristics are similar to apricots, another rainfed fruit tree that also tolerates water scarcity well.
It is a semi-woody climbing plant. Produced from its fruit, grapes and wine, it is a product of great cultural and economic value, especially in certain areas of the Iberian Peninsula.
Grapes ripen in the summer, and if you give the plants the care they need, you'll have a good harvest. Try to get about 6 hours of sunlight a day, and protect it from pests and diseases (humidity favors the growth of fungi). It should also be pruned regularly. It resists drought well, but even so, frequent watering of this plant is recommended, especially in summer.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about rainfed trees and their characteristics.