Long-term Effects of Restricted Root Volume and Regulated Deficit Irrigation on Peach: I. Growth and Mineral Nutrition

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Individual and interactive effects of restricted root volume (RRV) and regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) on vegetative growth and mineral nutrition of peach trees [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch (Peach Group) `Golden Queen'] were studied over 3 years (1992-95). Trees were grown in lysimeters of five different volumes (0.025, 0.06, 0.15, 0.4, and 1.0 m3) with either full or deficit (RDI) irrigation. Increasing soil volume increased vegetative growth as measured by trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) (linear and quadratic, P < 0.011) and tree weight (linear, P < 0.001) with the final TCA ranging from 29.0 to 51.0 cm2 and tree weight ranging from 7.2 to 12.1 kg for the smallest to largest volumes. Root density measured at the completion of the experiment decreased with increasing soil volume (linear and quadratic, P < 0.001) with root length density declining from 24.0 to 2.0 cm·cm-3. RDI reduced vegetative growth by up to 70% as measured by weight of summer prunings. Root restriction was effective in controlling vegetative vigor and is a viable alternative for control of vegetative growth. Mineral nutrition did not limit tree growth.

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