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A.M. Boland, P.H. Jerie, P.D. Mitchell, I. Goodwin and D.J. Connor

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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A.M. Boland, P.H. Jerie, P.D. Mitchell, I. Goodwin and D.J. Connor

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.