Peach trees perform similarly despite different irrigation scheduling methods
David A. Goldhamer, UC Cooperative Extension Water Management
Mario Salinas, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
Merce Soler Anaya, Institut de Recerca I Tecnologia Agroalimentaries, Lleida, Spain
Alfonso Moriana Elvira, IAS-CSIC, Cordoba, Spain
California Agriculture 55(1):25-29. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v055n01p25.
There are numerous techniques for scientifically scheduling irrigations in tree fruit orchards. These approaches involve measuring soil, plant or atmospheric parameters, then using this information to determine when to irrigate and how much water to apply. We studied the effects of the different irrigation scheduling methods on peach trees in Tulare County. One of the key aspects of irrigation scheduling is being able to interpret the measurements so that the resulting water management decisions produce maximum grower profit with the minimum amount of water. Thus the measurements must not only be accurately taken, but protocols for their interpretation must be reliable in terms of achieving optimal tree performance without wasting water. This requires a marriage of the technology used to take the measurement and the science used to develop the interpretation guidelines. When this is successfully done, we found that the method of scheduling irrigations had no effect on the peach trees' performance.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Kevin Day, Steve Sibbett and Bob Becde, UC Farm Advisors, and Scott Johnson, UC Pomology Specialist. They acknowledge the funding of EPRI, Edison International and the California Energy Commission. They also express appreciation to Greg Schwaller and the Edison International AgTAC staff and the following field assistants: Jesus Salinas. Miguel Marquez, Dan Howes and Miguel Sans.