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Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 35; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020035

Plant-Based Methods for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops

Group on Irrigation and Crop Ecophysiology, Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología (IRNAS, CSIC), Avenida de Reina Mercedes, 10, 41012 Sevilla, Spain
Academic Editors: Arturo Alvino and Maria Isabel Freire Riberiro Ferreira
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Abstract

The increasing world population and expected climate scenarios impel the agricultural sector towards a more efficient use of water. The scientific community is responding to that challenge by developing a variety of methods and technologies to increase crop water productivity. Precision irrigation is intended to achieve that purpose, through the wise choice of the irrigation system, the irrigation strategy, the method to schedule irrigation, and the production target. In this review, the relevance of precision irrigation for a rational use of water in agriculture, and methods related to the use of plant-based measurements for both the assessment of plant water stress and irrigation scheduling, are considered. These include non-automated, conventional methods based on manual records of plant water status and gas exchange, and automated methods where the related variable is recorded continuously and automatically. Thus, the use of methodologies based on the Scholander chamber and portable gas analysers, as well as those of systems for measuring sap flow, stem diameter variation and leaf turgor pressure, are reviewed. Other methods less used but with a potential to improve irrigation are also considered. These include those based on measurements related to the stem and leaf water content, and to changes in electrical potential within the plant. The use of measurements related to canopy temperature, both for direct assessment of water stress and for defining zones with different irrigation requirements, is also addressed. Finally, the importance of choosing the production target wisely, and the need for economic analyses to obtain maximum benefit of the technology related to precision irrigation, are outlined. View Full-Text
Keywords: precision irrigation; precision agriculture; water stress; water use efficiency; water productivity precision irrigation; precision agriculture; water stress; water use efficiency; water productivity
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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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Fernández, J.E. Plant-Based Methods for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops. Horticulturae 2017, 3, 35.

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