Water Management

  • The moisture required to grow papaya differs in each location depending on the ecology of the area.
  • Environmental and geographical factors like rainfall, temperature, light, wind, soil type and elevation play an important role in determining the amount of moisture needed to keep the papaya trees in good productive condition.
  • The age of the plant is also important in determining moisture requirements.
  • Young papaya seedlings need more moisture than older trees, which can maintain growth with little moisture because of their slower rate of vegetative growth.
  • Irrigate the young papaya seedlings about once or twice a week in irrigated orchards whereas for older trees bearing fruits, irrigate every 15 days or so.
  • Although bearing papaya trees do not need water as critically as small seedlings it is important that the tree has ample water in all times.
  • Prolonged moisture stress will slow down the growth and encourage the production of number of male or sterile flowers.
  • This will result into poor fruitset on the tree.
  • The papaya is adapted to a wide range of rainfall conditions ranging from 35 cm to 250 cm annual precipitation.
  • Excessive moisture affects the crop as well as fruit quality adversely.
  • Fruits of papaya produced in high rainfall and humid regions of the world are larger than those grown in the low rainfall regions irrespective of the varieties.
  • Papaya, in general, requires heavy irrigations both for establishment of young plants as well as for proper growth and fruiting, but it cannot withstand water logging and would develop 'wet feet'.
  • In the hilly regions of east and west coast of South India, papaya is found growing under rainfed conditions due to well distributed rainfall from South West and North East monsoons.
  • Fruitfulness in papaya depends on maintaining proper soil moisture.
  • Lower moisture levels shifted plants towards sterility and male floral characters, while higher moisture resulted in excessive production of undesirable carpelloid types.
  • Prolonged water stress resulted in stunted growth and poor fruitset.
  • Irrigate papaya trees at 10-12 days interval in winter and weekly once in summer if there is no rain.
  • Maintain adequate soil moisture in soil during summer in order to avoid flower and fruit drop.

Irrigation schedule

Stage of crops
Duration No. of irrigation Water level
Nursery 45 to 55 days Daily with rose can Once in a week (Summer Season) Once in 10 or 15 days (Rainy Season) 25 to 30 litres per day if it is through drip
Main field 1 ½ month - 12th month