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Agronomy 2017, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/agronomy7010012

Influence of Irrigation Scheduling Using Thermometry on Peach Tree Water Status and Yield under Different Irrigation Systems

1
USDA-ARS Water Management Research Unit, San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center, 9611 S. Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648, USA
2
Curent Affiliation: USDA-ARS Water Management and System Research Unit, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building D, Suite 320, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rakesh S. Chandran
Received: 3 December 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
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Abstract

Remotely-sensed canopy temperature from infrared thermometer (IRT) sensors has long been shown to be effective for detecting plant water stress. A field study was conducted to investigate peach tree responses to deficit irrigation which was controlled using canopy to air temperature difference (ΔT) during the postharvest period at the USDA-ARS (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service) San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Parlier, California, USA. The experimental site consisted of a 1.6 ha early maturing peach tree orchard. A total of 18 IRT sensors were used to control six irrigation treatments including furrow, micro-spray, and surface drip irrigation systems with and without postharvest deficit irrigation. During the postharvest period in the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 growing seasons, ΔT threshold values at mid-day was tested to trigger irrigation in three irrigation systems. The results showed that mid-day stem water potentials (ψ) for well irrigated trees were maintained at a range of −0.5 to −1.2 MPa while ψ of deficit irrigated trees dropped to lower values. Soil water content in deficit surface drip irrigation treatment was higher compared to deficit furrow and micro-spray irrigation treatments in 2012. The number of fruits and fruit weight from peach trees under postharvest deficit irrigation treatment were less than those well-watered trees; however, no statistically significant (at the p < 0.05 level) reduction in fruit size or quality was found for trees irrigated by surface drip and micro-spray irrigation systems by deficit irrigation. Beside doubles, we found an increased number of fruits with deep sutures and dimples which may be a long-term (seven-year postharvest regulated deficit irrigation) impact of deficit irrigation on this peach tree variety. Overall, deployment of IRT sensors provided real-time measurement of canopy water status and the information is valuable for making irrigation management decisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: irrigation scheduling; early-maturing peach; canopy-to-air temperature; drip irrigation; furrow irrigation; micro-spray irrigation irrigation scheduling; early-maturing peach; canopy-to-air temperature; drip irrigation; furrow irrigation; micro-spray irrigation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, H.; Wang, D.; Gartung, J.L. Influence of Irrigation Scheduling Using Thermometry on Peach Tree Water Status and Yield under Different Irrigation Systems. Agronomy 2017, 7, 12.

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