Efficient Irrigation for Optimum Fruit Quality and Yield in Apples.
Use of crop evapotranspiration (ETc), when a precise crop coefficient value (Kc) is used, provides a reliable tool (irrigation scheduling) for determination of water requirement. In this process, Kc should be modified by percentage of ground shade (GS) and tree canopy maturity (M). In an experiment in Idaho with ET-based irrigation scheduling, each tree with a full microjet sprinkler system received an average of 6461.7 L (994 mm), whereas each one with a full drip system used 3996 L (614.1 mm) of irrigation water. In general, deficit drip irrigation was shown to initially increase yield as a result of induction of stress and the production of a higher number of fruit spurs. However, production declined if the extreme water deficiency was repeatedly applied to the trees over several years. Using a microjet sprinkler system, a partial root zone drying regime reduced fruit size but slightly improved fruit color. Application of water at 65% full drip rate, applied on both sides of the tree row (DD), reduced fruit size. However, when the 65% of full drip rate was applied to only one of the alternating sides of the tree every other week (PRD), fruit size was larger than those with DD treatment.
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