Submitted to: National Irrigation Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In an effort to maximize the benefits of using microirrigation systems, and thereby reduce the risk to growers for investing in these expensive systems, we are evaluating microirrigation systems along with different scheduling strategies in peach (Prunus persica (L>) Batsch cv. Crimson Lady on 'Nemaguard' rootstock). The main objective of the research is to develop irrigation management practices that 1) improve crop water and nutrient acquisition and use efficiency during early stages of development (pre-production), and 2) ultimately enhance crop productivity in peach for growers on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley. In 1999, three different irrigation systems - microspray, drip (surface and subsurface), and furrow - were installed in a 1.7 ha field prior to planting. Using these systems, we are testing over the first 3 years of tree growth variations in timing and placement of irrigation water, as well as differences in total amounts of water applied (20 treatment comparisons). Optimal nitrogen application rates are also being tested (10 treatment comparisons). Measurements are being made periodically during the growing season to determine the effects of these different irrigation systems and strategies on water and nutrient usage by peach trees, as well as the effects they have on tree growth and productivity. First year results have already pointed to the benefits of using caps on microsprays and of applying drip irrigation on the surface when trees are initially establishing their root system. During the second year, additional measurements are being made to determine the effects of irrigation treatments on the availability of water and mineral nutrients in the soil relative to the distribution of roots.