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Evaluation of different deficit irrigation strategies in the late-maturing Japanese plum cultivar 'Angeleno'

AuthorsMoñino, María José; Blanco-Cipollone, Fernando; Vivas, Antonio; Bodelón, Óscar G.; Prieto, María Henar
KeywordsWater stress
Stem water potential
Prunus salicina
Fruit development
Issue Date2020
CitationAgricultural Water Management 234: 106111 (2020)
AbstractIn stone fruits, the pit hardening period is usually one of slow fruit growth that is considered relatively insensitive to an imposed moderate water stress. For this reason, this period is commonly employed for a first phase of reduced water input in regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) strategies. However, in previous studies with the Japanese plum cv. 'Angeleno', the identification of a period of slow growth just before harvest suggested the need to reconsider the most suitable RDI strategy for this cultivar. In this 3-year study (2014, 2015 and 2016) three irrigation strategies were compared: Control (CON) designed to meet tree water requirements throughout the season; Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI) with two separate periods of water deficit, one preharvest with no irrigation inputs during an intermediate period of fruit growth (pit hardening period), and the other postharvest with a 30 % reduction of the CON inputs; and Preharvest + Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDP) with a single period of deficit irrigation initiated before harvesting and extended until the end of the irrigation campaign. Both deficit irrigation treatments were found to be effective at controlling tree vigor, with lower trunk cross-sectional area growth and pruned wood weight than in the CON treatment. Average water savings with the RDI and RDP strategies over the three years of the study were 24 % and 18 %, respectively, compared to CON, with no impact on yield and no carry-over effect. Fruit size in the RDP treatment was similar to the CON. The differences in fruit firmness, soluble solids concentration (SSC), acidity, lightness (L), hue (ho) and chroma (C*) of the skin were only slight or inconsistent over the three years. Our results confirm the suitability of moderate pre- and postharvest water stress (RDP strategy) in this cultivar, with greater water productivity than the traditional RDI strategy.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106111
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