Irrigation





The grape, as a rule, withstands drought very well, several species

growing wild on the desert's edge. Even in the semi-arid regions of

the far West, where other fruits must always be irrigated, the grape

often grows well without artificial watering. Irrigation is practiced

in vineyards in the United States only on the Pacific slope and here

the practice is not as general as with other fruit crops. Whether the

grape shall be grown under irrigation or not is a local and often an

individual question answered with regard to several conditions; as the

local rainfall, the depth and character of the soil, the cost of water

and ease of irrigation. These conditions are all correlated and make

about the most complex and difficult problem the growers of grapes in

semi-arid regions have to solve. As long, however, as the grape-grower

can grow fairly vigorous vines and harvest a fairly bountiful crop by

natural rainfall, he should not irrigate; for, even though the crop

offsets the cost, there are several objections to growing grapes under

irrigation. The vines are subject to more diseases and physiological

troubles; the fruit is said to lack aroma and flavor; grapes grown on

irrigated land do not stand shipment well, the unduly inflated grapes

often bursting; wine-makers do not like irrigated grapes as well as

those from non-irrigated lands; and watery grapes from irrigated lands

make inferior raisins. It is maintained, however, with a show of

reason, that grapes suffer in irrigated vineyards in the ways set

forth only when the vines are over-or improperly irrigated.





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