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- Author or Editor: J.P. Mitchell x
Root spread from close-planted (5.5 × 1 m) peach trees [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] was restricted when irrigated from trickle or microjet outlets. Roots spread less under trickle, and trees grew more slowly but cropped earlier. Fruit set heavily on both treatments in 5th leaf. The results suggest that irrigation technique can be used as a management tool affecting tree growth and productivity for close-planted orchards.
A range of irrigation levels was compared in specific periods of fruit development to determine their suitability for control of tree vigor and yields in ultra-dense orchards of peach [Prunus persica L. Batsch] trees. Where trees in the 3rd leaf were trickle-irrigated with 4 levels (100, 50, 25, and 12.5%) of replacement of Eps (evaporation over the planting square) during the period of rapid vegetative growth, both frame and fruit growth declined as irrigation quantity decreased. In the following period of maximum fruit growth, 130% of Eps replacement increased vegetative growth but not fruit growth compared to 100% Eps. The fruit, however, grew faster in this period on those trees which had received low levels of Eps replacement in the earlier period of maximum vegetative growth. The net result was similar final fruit size and yield between treatments, combined with control of vegetative growth at the lower levels of Eps. A large saving in irrigation water was obtained at the lower levels of replacement of Eps.
The rate of N mineralization from 35 samples of manure or compost was estimated by both aerobic laboratory incubation and lath house pot studies at Davis, Calif., in 1996–97. Each manure and compost sample was mixed at 2% by dry weight with a 1 loam soil: 1 coarse sand blend. The amended soil blends were moisture equilibrated under 0.025-MPa pressure then incubated aerobically at constant moisture at 25 °C for 3 (1996) or 6 months (1997); subsamples were collected monthly (1996) or bimonthly (1997) for mineral N determination. Four-liter pots were also filled with the amended soil blends and seeded with fescue (Festuca arundinacea). The pots were watered but not fertilized for 16 (1996) or 18 (1997) weeks in a lath house at ambient summer conditions. N mineralization from the pot study was calculated from total fescue biomass N plus mineral N from pot leachate, minus those quantities in pots of the unamended soil blend. N mineralization rate estimates from the two techniques were highly correlated (r 2 = 0.79). Green waste composts typically mineralized <5% of total N, manure composts 5% to10%, and manures (poultry, dairy, and feedlot) 7% to 20%. After 4 months of incubation, N mineralization rate (expressed as percent of total N per month) from the composts and manures was similar to that of the unamended soil blend.
Three levels of water deficit generated by 3 levels of irrigation applied at times of rapid vegetative growth and/or slow fruit growth were compared to determine their suitability for restricting vegetative growth on 5-year-old ‘Bartlett’ pear (Prunus communis L.) trees trained to a Tatura Trellis. For the period of Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI), the amount of water applied replaced 92%, 47%, and 23% of the evaporation calculated over the planting square (Eps). In the subsequent period of rapid fruit growth until harvest, all trees were irrigated with 150% Eps to ensure that the wetting pattern from the trickle system wetted the entire root zone. Shoot and frame growth declined in proportion to the water deficit. Fruit tended to grow more slowly on the 23% than 46% treatment during RDI, but growth on the 46% and 92% Eps treatments was similar. In the subsequent period of full irrigation, fruit growth initially was significantly faster on the RDI treatments, and the same trend was maintained for most of the remainder of fruit growth. The net result was that yield was marginally increased RDI treatments. In the subsequent season, flowering was increased on trees recieving RDI in the previous season.
This research tests the hypothesis that decreasing lateral spacing from 45 to 35 feet in solid-set sprinkler systems increases the uniformity of irrigation water distribution and improves water and N fertilizer use efficiencies. Three different spacings between sprinkler laterals (35', 40', and 45') were set up in three blocks in a 60-acre commercial carrot field in Western Kern County in California's San Joaquin Valley. Determinations of irrigation water distribution uniformity, yields, crop water use, plant growth, and nitrate leaching were made. Mean sprinkler distribution uniformities (DU) were found to be 80.6%, 78.1%, and 86% for the 35-, 40-, and 45-ft spacings, respectively. Total carrot yield and quality did not differ significantly among the three spacings, corroborating the finding that irrigation uniformities were similar among the treatments. Although the three lateral spacings evaluated in this initial experiment did not result in major differences in irrigation uniformity, total yields, or quality, the findings of this initial stage of our research are significant. They point to the need for new assessments of currently used protocols for evaluating sprinkler irrigation management of water and nitrogen fertilizer if they can be confirmed by repeated trials in coming years.
Sustainable alternatives for saline drainage water management in areas such as California's San Joaquin Valley are needed. Previous work has demonstrated the short-term potential for reuse of saline drainage water for irrigation in this area. Results from our 6-year cyclic drainage reuse study, however, indicate that soil structural problems may occur which can greatly reduce stand establishment and crop yields in periodically salinized soils. To prevent these problems, we are evaluating the effectiveness of winter cover crop incorporation and gypsum applications relative to conventional fallows, for improving/maintaining soil physical properties and crop productivity in cyclically salinized soils. Six winter cover crop/fallow treatments have been imposed upon a rotation of tomatoes, tomatoes and cotton as summer crops. By monitoring water use, relevant soil physical and chemical properties as well as crop performance during the course of this 3-year rotation study, we are assessing the potential benefits and constraints of using winter cover crops in drainage water reuse systems.
Since the discovery of elevated concentrations of selenium in the water, sediments, and biota at the Kesterson Wildlife Refuge, several studies regarding trace element distribution in the San Joaquin Valley and their potential environmental impacts have been initialed. We conducted a reconnaissance investigation to assess the concentration of boron, selenium, arsenic, molybdenum, uranium and vanadium using inductively coupled mass spectroscopy in prominent vegetation in the San Joaquin Valley. Five regions representing a range of geochemical environments with known differences in trace element concentrations in their soils or shallow ground water were selected for plant and soil sampling. Concentrations of boron, selenium arsenic, molybdenum, uranium, and vanadium in soil and tissue will be presented for these geographic areas for alfalfa, almonds, cotton, garlic, grapes, onions, tomatoes, and wheat. Interpretations of the wide range of trace element tissue concentrations that have been found will be discussed.
Root competition (tree density), summer pruning, and regulated irrigation were studied to determine whether they can be used to control tree vigor and productivity in ultra-dense orchards of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]. All methods appeared to inhibit tree growth, but regulated irrigation combined with root competition generated from high tree density was most effective. Fruit yields and fruit growth were significantly increased (up to 30%) by high tree density combined with low rate of water application when water stress limited shoot growth but stimulated subsequent fruit growth. Periods of low rate of water application are specified.
Field studies were conducted in 1992 and 1993 to assess the effects of irrigation with saline drainage water on processing-tomato fruit yields and quality constituents. Saline water (ECiw = 7 dS/m) was used for 66% of the seasonal irrigation requirements in 1992 and 82% in 1993. Yields of tomatoes irrigated with saline water were maintained relative to nonsaline irrigation in 1992, but were decreased by 33% in 1993. Juice Brix and Bostwick consistency were generally improved by irrigation with saline water. pH was unaffected by irrigation treatment, and titratable acidity, an estimate of citric acid content, was increased only in 1993. Calculated quantities for various marketable processed product yields reflect the dominant influence of fresh fruit yield that masked, to a large extent, whatever quality enhancements that may have derived from saline irrigation. The substantial tomato yield reduction that occurred in the second year of this study in plots irrigated with saline drainage water, the gradual surface accumulation of boron, as well as the significant salt buildup in lower portions of the crop root zone following drainage water irrigations demonstrate definitive limitations to the reuse approach and restrict options for the crops that can be grown in this system and the frequency of saline drainage reuse.
Nitrogen and carbon mineralization rates of 19 manure and compost samples were determined in 1996, with an additional 12 samples evaluated in 1997. These organic amendments were mixed with a soil: sand blend at 2% by dry weight and the amended blends were incubated at constant moisture for 12 (1996) or 24 weeks (1997) at 25 °C. Net N mineralization was measured at 4- (1996) or 8-week (1997) intervals, C mineralization at 4-week intervals in 1997. Pots of the amended blends were also seeded with fescue (Festuca arundinacea Shreb.) and watered, but not fertilized, for 17 (1996) or 18 weeks (1997); N phytoavailability was estimated from fescue biomass N and mineral N in pot leachate. An average of 16%, 7%, and 1% of organic N was mineralized in 12 weeks of incubation in 1996, and an average of 15%, 6%, and 2% in 24 weeks of incubation in 1997, in manure, manure compost, and plant residue compost, respectively. Overall, N recovery in the fescue assay averaged 11%, 6%, and 2% of total amendment N for manure, manure compost, and plant residue compost, respectively. Mineralization of manure C averaged 35% of initial C content in 24 weeks, while compost C mineralization averaged only 14%. Within 4 (compost) or 16 weeks (manure), the rate of mineralization of amendment C had declined to a level similar to that of the soil organic C.