Long-term Effects of Restricted Root Volume and Regulated Deficit Irrigation on Peach: II. Productivity and Water Use

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Stone and Pome Fruit Section, Institute of Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture, Tatura Centre, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Private Bag, Tatura 3616, Australia
  • 2 Department of Crop Production, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia

Individual and interactive effects of restricted root volume (RRV) and regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) on productivity and water use of peach trees [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch `Golden Queen'] were studied over 3 years (1992-95). Trees were grown in lysimeters of five different soil volumes (0.025, 0.06, 0.15, 0.4, and 1.0 m3) with either full or deficit (RDI) irrigation. In Years 3 and 4, fruit size was reduced by up to 30% on trees in the two smallest volumes. Tree water use was positively related to increasing soil volume (linear, P < 0.001; quadratic, P < 0.011) in all years ranging from 1.8 to 4.4 L·mm-1 Epan in the post-RDI period of Year 2. Water use of deficit-irrigated trees was less than fully irrigated trees and there was an interaction between soil volume and irrigation treatment during RDI. Water relations did not limit growth or productivity. Tree water use was reduced under root restriction as a consequence of canopy demand rather than leaf function. Results suggest that a combination of restricted root volume and development of water stress achieve the RDI response in the Goulburn Valley, Australia.

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