Water Conservation for the Small Fruit and Berry Garden

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape September 22, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Berries and small fruits can be fun and rewarding to grow. Strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, currants, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes are examples of small fruits that can be grown in the home garden.

Berries need plenty of water to set flower and fruit. The most effective way to conserve water in the berry garden is to irrigate small fruits and berries using a drip type system.

Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries

Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Photo author: Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When designed properly, drip irrigation systems reduce water waste by delivering water directly to the root zone.

Foliar (leaf) disease problems are reduced since water is not applied directly to leaves. These systems are widely available through irrigation supply companies and big box stores.

Types of Drip or Trickle Irrigation

  • Row crop tape
  • Orchard emitter
  • Micro-sprinkler
  • Soaker hoses

Irrigating Small Fruits and Berries

Different fruits and berries have different water requirements. Remember to group plants with like water needs together in hydrozones.


close up of a single drip irrigation emitter


close up of a section soaker hose used for irrigation


Drip emitters reduce water waste by placing water directly where it is needed.
Photo credit: Matt Jacoby Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0


Soaker hoses are flexible and can be used in different configurations. They are inexpensive and widely available.
Photo credit: Jason Kemp
Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

close up of a section soaker tape used for irrigation


Example of drip irrigation tape.
Photo credit: Dave Trainer Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


Additional Resources by Region:


Missouri: Drip Irrigation and Watering Web Links
Kansas - Drip Irrigation of Row Crops


Texas - Irrigating Schedule of Grapevines with Evaportranspiration Data


California - Growing Berries in your Backyard
Idaho - Growing Currants, Gooseberries, and Jostaberries


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.