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  • Author or Editor: Emilio Nicolás x
  • HortScience x
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The annual water status and phenological patterns of Rosmarinus officinalis plants in relation to irrigation were studied to improve the use of this species in gardening conditions. Rosmarinus officinalis seedlings were pot-grown for 4 months in the nursery. After this period, plants were transplanted to field conditions before three irrigation treatments were applied from Nov. 2000 to Dec. 2001 (control and deficit treatments: C, T-1 and T-2, respectively). The total amount of water applied by irrigation during the experimental period was 167 mm for control, 83.5 mm for T1 (50% of the control), and 50 mm for T-2 (30% to the control). Two main periods of vegetative growth (beginning of spring and fall) were observed in all treatments. At the end of the experimental period, deficit irrigation had altered the morphology of the R. officinalis plants, reducing plant height and shoot growth. Maximum flowering intensity occurred at the beginning of fall for all irrigation treatments. Deficit irrigation treatments induced a more intense flowering density, although of lower longevity than control plants. The annual pattern of shoot water potential at predawn reflected the irrigation regimes, although less difference resulting from irrigation effect was detected in this parameter at midday. Plants under deficit irrigation showed a conservative strategy in the use of water, reducing stomatal conductance. This finding may be of use for the successful gardening of Rosmarinus officinalis plants in semiarid conditions.

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The phenological stages of early-maturing peach trees were described using the traditional nomenclature of Baggiolini and according to the BBCH General Scale. The heat requirement of each stage was calculated as growing degree hours (GDH) and growing degree days (GDD). The annual growth pattern of trunk, shoot, and fruit was also studied. After dormancy breaking involving 225 chilling units, this early peach cultivar required ≈6244 GDH to reach full bloom and 27106 GDH before the fruit could be harvested. In the case of GDD, the heat requirements were 329 and 1246 for full bloom and fruit harvest, respectively. According to plant growth measurements, shoot growth lasted ≈7 months with a significant increase in the growth rate after fruit harvest reaching a maximum value in July. Trunk growth followed a similar annual pattern as that of the shoots but with its maximum rate occurring ≈30 days latter. Fruit growth, which lasted an average of 89 days from full bloom to harvesting, took place under mild climatic conditions (10 Feb. to 10 May) coinciding with only 30% of the total annual shoot length. This pattern of reproductive and vegetative growth pointed to the interest of redirecting regulated deficit irrigation practices in early-maturing cultivars toward postharvest water-saving strategies, but only to the extent that any limitation of shoot and trunk growth does not adversely affect the productivity of the following year.

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