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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influence of Irrigation Method and Scheduling on Patterns of Soil and Tree Water Status and Its Relation to Yield and Fruit Quality in Peach

Authors
item Bryla, David
item Dickson, Elizabeth - PRIOR USDA EMPLOYEE
item Shenk, Robert
item Johnson, R - UC KEARNEY AG CTR
item Crisosto, Carlos - UC KEARNEY AG CTR
item Trout, Thomas

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2005
Publication Date: December 1, 2005
Citation: Bryla, D.R., Dickson, E., Shenk, R.J., Johnson, R.S., Crisosto, C.H., Trout, T.J. 2005. Influence of irrigation method and scheduling on patterns of soil and tree water status and its relation to yield and fruit quality in peach. Hortscience. Vol 40(7):2118-2124.

Interpretive Summary: Large fruit is valuable for fruit growers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently tested the effect of four irrigation systems on water status and fruit growth and production in early-season 'Crimson Lady' peach trees. The systems tested were furrow, microjet, surface drip, and subsurface drip. Overall, trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip produced 4-20% larger fruit and fewer non-marketable fruit than those irrigated by other methods. Surface and subsurface drip irrigation apparently increased fruit size over other irrigation methods by reducing water limitations to fruit growth. High-frequency drip irrigations prevented cycles of water stress that occurred between furrow and microjet irrigations. Daily drip irrigation thus alleviates water stress throughout fruit development, enabling tree fruit farmers to maximize production potential of their orchards.

Technical Abstract: Even mild water stress reduces fresh fruit size in peach. A 2-year study was conducted to determine the ability of different irrigation systems to reduce water stress and enhance fruit growth and production in 'Crimson Lady' peach trees irrigated by furrow, microjet, surface drip, or subsurface drip. Furrow and microjet irrigations were applied every 7 d or 14 d, while surface and subsurface drip irrigations were applied every time accumulated crop ET reached 2.5 mm. Fruit growth varied with each irrigation system, even though tree size and fruit number were similar among treatments. Fruit volume expanded more quickly with surface or subsurface drip irrigation than with furrow or microjet irrigation. By harvest, trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip produced 4-20% larger fruit on average and fewer non-marketable fruit than those irrigated by other methods. Surface and subsurface drip irrigation apparently increased fruit size over other irrigation methods by reducing water limitations to fruit growth. High-frequency drip irrigations prevented cycles of water stress that occurred between furrow and microjet irrigations. Microjet-irrigated trees were further stressed due to insufficient soil water availability. Daily drip irrigation thus alleviates water stress throughout fruit development, enabling bearing peach trees to approach their full production potential.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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