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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Riverside, California » Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364125

Research Project: Enhancing Specialty Crop Tolerance to Saline Irrigation Waters

Location: Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit

Title: Grape rootstock response to salinity, water and combined salinity and water stress

item Suarez, Donald
item Marquez Celis, Nydia
item Anderson, Raymond - Ray
item Sandhu, Devinder

Submitted to: Agronomy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/13/2019
Publication Date: 6/18/2019
Citation: Suarez, D.L., Celis, N., Anderson, R.G., Sandhu, D. 2019. Grape rootstock response to salinity, water and combined salinity and water stress. Agronomy. 9(6):321.

Interpretive Summary: There is increasing concern about the sustainability of irrigation in arid regions of the world because available fresh water resources are being depleted and salinized. Producers with limited water fresh water face the option of either under-irrigating, using available saline ground water, or a combination of both. It is important to develop and evaluate new salt tolerant crops as well as to understand the interaction of water and salt stress on crop production. We evaluated three purported salt tolerant grape rootstocks for fruit and vegetative production in a 4 year field experiment, with salt stress, water stress and combined water and salt stress. across all treatments Ruggerio was the top producer. There were significant differences in fruit yield under saline conditions, with Ruggerio cv being the top performer and most salt tolerant (relative yield) There were no significant rootstock differences to water stress, suggesting that grape salt tolerance is more associated with toxic ion accumulation (sodium and chloride) rather than osmotic stress. We determined reduced water consumption under salinity, thus under combined stress, yield was reduced but there was no actual water stress at the highest salinity levels. This research is of interest to wine grape producers in areas where salinity and drought is of concern, as well as extension specialists, farm advisors and researchers evaluating crop response to combined stresses and developing new grape varieties.

Technical Abstract: Diminishing availability of nonsaline water in arid and semiarid regions is of concern to all irrigated agricultural producers, including wine and grape producers. Grapes are not a salt tolerant crop and producers often face the choice of either limiting fresh water application, using alternative saline waters or a combination of both. We examined the salt tolerance and effect of restricted water application on three purported salt tolerant rootstocks grafted to Cabernet Sauvignon scion in a 4-year replicated field experiment. ANOVA indicated significant effects of salinity water stress and rootstock on fruit yields. Ruggerio scion was the top producer across all treatments including control, followed by Salt Creek, with Saint George significantly less productive than Ruggerio across all treatments. Soil salinity profiles and soil moisture sensors indicated reduced water consumption under high salinity, thus no matric stress under 60% of optimal water application when high salt stress was present. The multiplicative stress model where salt and water stress are individually evaluated did not satisfactorily predict yield under combined salinity and reduced water application, likely due to decreased water consumption under saline conditions. Short term (one year) experiments underestimate salt damage to grape vines as salt tolerance decreased over the 4-year experiment.