Fallbrook Citrus rancher
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‘Stumping’ trees

Fallbrook, Calif., grower Carl Kessel is using low-flow and reduced-flow devices in his irrigation systems in hopes of reducing water use by 50% on his farm of 3,100 lemon trees. The state recently began to enforce a 30% cutback in agricultural water deliveries, prompting Southern California growers to devise methods to ease the reduction. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Ranch hand Celerino Salmeron hacks away branches and other tree parts on the Bejoca Co. avocado farm in a process called “stumping,” which will put some trees out of production for the next one to three years to leave more water for the rest of the farm’s trees. Salmeron and his co-workers will stump 126 avocado trees on the Fallbrook grove. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Chain saw in hand, Juan Flores walks among idled trees at the Bejoca Co. avocado farm. Farmers say they’re protecting their investment when they stump their orchards. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Charlie Wolk oversees the cutting down of avocado trees on his hilltop grove. “The tree would be hurt more having water cut back than if you cut it down and shut the water off,” said the 71-year-old farmer, who has grown avocados in Fallbrook for half his life. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Ranch hand Fernando Millan sprays a tree stump on the Bejoca avocado farm with white paint to protect the bark from sunburn. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Rancher George McManigle is using a variety of low-flow watering devices on his Fallbrook land, where he grows avocados, passion fruit and several other crops. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)