Continuous trunk diameter recording can reveal water stress in peach trees
Elias Fereres, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
David A. Goldhamer, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
Moshe Cohen, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentáries (IRTA), Cabrils, Spain
Joan Girona, IRTA, Lleida, Spain
Merce Mata, IRTA, Lleida, Spain
California Agriculture 53(4):21-25. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v053n04p21.
The water status of a peach tree is traditionally monitored by measuring its predawn or midday leaf water potential or midday stem water potential. A study conducted on ‘O'Henry’ peach trees at the Kearney Agricultural Center showed that continuous monitoring of trunk diameter can also be an accurate technique of detecting water stress. The trees were evaluated during 21 days of underirrigation followed by 17 days of full irrigation. Trunk-based measurements were generally more sensitive than discrete measurements to both the onset of water stress and the magnitude of tree water deficits. Parameters based on trunk diameter monitoring correlated well with established physiological parameters of plant water status. These trunk diameter oscillations, which are only available from continuous monitoring, hold promise for improving the precision of irrigation decision making.
E. Fereres is Director, IAS-CSIC, and Professor, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain; D. Goldhamer is Cooperative Extension Water Management Specialist, University of California, located at Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier; M. Cohen is Research Scientist, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentáries (IRTA), Cabrils, Spain; J. Girona is Research Leader and Research Associate, respectively, IRTA, Lleida, Spain. M. Mata is Research Leader and Research Associate, respectively, IRTA, Lleida, Spain.
This work was funded under the auspices of the UC/IRTA Cooperative Agreement. Additional assistance was provided by the European Commission FAIR 30–95 research project and by the Comissio Interdepartamental de Recerca i Tecnologia de la Generalitat de Catalunya. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Dr. Henry Vaux, Associate Vice President-Programs, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC, and Dr. Josep Tarrago, Director, IRTA. They also appreciate the technical assistance of Dr. Scott Johnson, UC Cooperative Extension Pomology Specialist, and the field assistance of Ana Cohen and Dan Howes.