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Irrigation scheduling from stem diameter variations: A review

AutorFernández Luque, José Enrique ; Cuevas Sánchez, Mª Victoria
Palabras claveMaximum daily shrinkage
Trunk growth rate
LVDT sensor
Water-stress indicator
Sap flow
Fecha de publicación15-feb-2010
CitaciónAgricultural and Forest Meteorology 150 (2): 135-151 (2010)
ResumenPrecise irrigation is essential in arid and semi-arid areas where water is scarce. This has impelled the scientific community to develop new technologies for scheduling irrigation. Of these, the ones relying on plant-based water-stress indicators have been found to have the greatest potential. Thus, measurements of stem water content, canopy temperature, sap flow, and stem diameter variation (SDV), among other variables, have proved useful not only for research purposes, but also for precise irrigation scheduling in commercial orchards. In this work we focus on the use of SDV records for irrigation scheduling. Of those mentioned above, this is the water-stress indicator that has received most attention from the scientific community, in terms of its potential for irrigating commercial orchards. Apart from being capable of an early detection of water stress, even if this is mild, SDV can be continuously and automatically recorded. This is a clear advantage over conventional indicators such as stem water potential (Cstem). Among the SDV-derived indices that are useful for scheduling irrigation, the maximum daily shrinkage (MDS) and stem growth rate (SGR) are the most widely used. For young trees, and in periods of rapid stem growth, SGR could be a better indicator thanMDS. In periods of negligible growth, however, SGR cannot be used as an indicator of plant water stress. Considerable differences in both MDS and SGR as a function of crop load have been reported for some species. It has been found, that SDV outputs are affected by seasonal growth patterns, crop load, plant age and size, and other factors, apart from water stress. Thus, expert interpretation of SDV records is required before using them for scheduling irrigation, which limits their potential for automating the calculation of the irrigation dose. For some species, the MDS vs Cstem relationships show diurnal hysteresis and seasonal changes. Some relationships also show an increase of MDS as the plant water potential fell to a certain value, after which MDS decreases as the plant water potential became more negative. This has been reported for peach, lemon, grapevine and olive, among other species. Although SDV-derived indices show a high plant-to-plant variability, in most cases the signal intensity is high enough to achieve an acceptable sensitivity, which, for peach, lemon and pepper has been found to greater than that of Cstem and leaf conductance (gl). In plum, apple and grapevine, however,Cstem is more sensitive than MDS and SGR. In any case, the usefulness of an SDV-derived index for irrigation scheduling must be evaluated for the orchard conditions. In this work we describe the qualities that must be considered in such evaluation. One of them, the signal intensity, is being successfully used to schedule low-frequency irrigation in orchards of a variety of species, for both fulland deficit-irrigation treatments. When combined with aerial or satellite imaging, SDV measurements are useful for scheduling irrigation in large orchards with high crop-water-stress variability.
Descripción17 pages, 2 figures, 3 tables.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agrformet.2009.11.006
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