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Spatial root distribution of apricot trees in different soil tillage practices

AuthorsRuiz Sánchez, M. Carmen ; Plana, V.; Ortuño Gallud, Mª Fernanda ; Tapia, L. M.; Abrisqueta García, José María
Prunus armeniaca
Root distribution
Soil water content
Issue DateMay-2005
CitationPlant and Soil 272(1-2): 211-221(2005)
AbstractRoot and soil water distribution was studied in a mature drip-irrigated apricot (Prunus armeniaca L. cv. Búlida) orchard with different soil tillage practices, in a loamy textured soil with a 7% slope, located in Murcia (SE Spain). Three treatments were applied between tree rows:control (no-tillage), whereby, following the common practice in the area, weeds were cut back to ground level by a blade attached to a tractor; perforated treatment, where the soil surface was mechanically perforated with an adapted-plough; and mini-catchment treatment, consisting of mini-catchments with low banks manually raised perpendicular to the line of emitters. Almost all of the apricot root system was located in the first 0.75 m of soil depth, with 91% in the first 0.50 m. More than 75% of the roots corresponded to thin roots, with a diameter less than 0.2 mm. Both tillage treatments decreased runoff compared with the control treatment, while the mini-catchment treatment showed the highest change in soil water content after rainfall events. The mini-catchment treatment was performed in an attempt to reduce the rainwater running down the slope, leaving the accumulated water near plant roots, an effect which was responsible for the higher root length density (RLD) values found in this treatment. In addition, roots were distributed over a wider area, providing higher RLD values up to 1 m from the emitter, meaning that a higher soil volume was explored. For these reasons, the mini-catchment treatment was seen to be the most beneficial soil tillage treatment for optimising water use in semiarid conditions.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11104-004-4781-4
Appears in Collections:(CEBAS) Artículos
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