Special Issue "Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Arturo Alvino

Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food University of Molise, Via De Sanctis, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 874 404 676
Fax: +39 874 404 855
Interests: agronomy; plant-water relations; irrigation; spectro-radiometry; UAVs
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Maria Isabel Freire Ribeiro Ferreira

Department of Biosystems Engineering and LEAF (Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food), Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Interests: irrigation scheduling, irrigation planning, evapotranspiration, water stress, roots behavior

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Horticulturae is planning a special issue focusing on Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production. We now have the following papers in preparation on several aspects of this research area, and are welcome to more research articles and reviews on this important topic.

  • Irrigation of orchard crops
  • Genetics
  • Irrigation of horticultural crops
  • Micro-irrigation and horticultural crops
  • Precision irrigation—center pivot irrigation systems
  • Devices for field crops and greenhouses to improve water and nutrient management
  • Pollution
  • Fertigation
  • The use of unmanned aerial systems in precision horticulture
  • Climate change impacts on water use in horticulture

Prof. Dr. Arturo Alvino
Prof. Dr. Maria Isabel Freire Ribeiro Ferreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Horticulturae is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • irrigation
  • orchard crops
  • precision irrigation
  • water and nutrient management

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Plant Water Status Indicators for Irrigation Scheduling Associated with Iso- and Anisohydric Behavior: Vine and Plum Trees
Horticulturae 2017, 3(3), 47; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3030047
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 August 2017 / Published: 12 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1056 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plant water status indicators have been increasingly used for scheduling irrigation. Different variables may be used to do this, depending on personal preferences and the resources available. Many studies have suggested that selection of an indicator should take into account plant behavior in
[...] Read more.
Plant water status indicators have been increasingly used for scheduling irrigation. Different variables may be used to do this, depending on personal preferences and the resources available. Many studies have suggested that selection of an indicator should take into account plant behavior in relation to isohydricity. In two Iberian studies, deficit irrigation (DI) was applied in a vineyard and in a plum orchard while plant water status and fluxes were monitored. These case-studies are discussed with special focus on the use of predawn leaf water potential (Ψpd) versus stem water potential (Ψst) to determine whether Ψst performed better and would therefore be the preferred stress indicator for plants exhibiting anisohydric behavior. In contrast, in plants with isohydric behavior, Ψpd would be generally preferred. This hypothesis seems to be supported by the present results obtained and by prior studies. The cultivars used and the intensity of stress applied have an important influence on the results. This suggests that, if no specific information is available from the existing literature, daily preliminary studies would be recommended prior to application in order to select the most appropriate plant water stress indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Remote Sensing for Irrigation of Horticultural Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 40; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020040
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 5 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 16 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reviews the literature on applications of remote sensing for monitoring soil- and crop- water status for irrigation purposes. The review is organized into two main sections: (1) sensors and platforms applied to irrigation studies and (2) remote sensing approaches for precision
[...] Read more.
This paper reviews the literature on applications of remote sensing for monitoring soil- and crop- water status for irrigation purposes. The review is organized into two main sections: (1) sensors and platforms applied to irrigation studies and (2) remote sensing approaches for precision irrigation to estimate crop water status, evapotranspiration, infrared thermography, soil and crop characteristics methods. Recent literature reports several remote sensing (RS) approaches to monitor crop water status in the cultivated environment. Establishing the right amount of water to supply for different irrigation strategies (maximization of yield or water use efficiency (WUE)) for a large number of crops is a problem that remains unresolved. For each crop, it will be necessary to create a stronger connection between crop-water status and crop yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview New Trends in the Fertigation Management of Irrigated Vegetable Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 37; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020037
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 21 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of fertigation, coupled with micro-irrigation, has continued to increase since it was first introduced in horticultural cropping systems. This combination provides a technical solution whereby nutrients and water can be supplied to the crop with high precision in terms of time
[...] Read more.
The use of fertigation, coupled with micro-irrigation, has continued to increase since it was first introduced in horticultural cropping systems. This combination provides a technical solution whereby nutrients and water can be supplied to the crop with high precision in terms of time and space, thereby allowing high nutrient use efficiency. However, the correct estimation of crop nutrient and water needs is fundamental to obtaining precise plant nutrition and high nutrient use efficiency in fertigated cropping systems. This paper illustrates the state-of-the-art and new perspectives for optimal nutrient management of vegetable crops cultivated under fertigation regimes. An overall description is reported for the most valuable technologies and techniques based on simulation models, soil testing, plant testing, and related decision support systems that can be adopted for efficient fertigation. However, it should be highlighted that only a few of the above technologies and techniques are practically available and/or easy to use by growers. Therefore, much more attention should be paid in the future to the transfer of research knowledge to farmers and technical advisors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview Plant-Based Methods for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 35; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020035
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 26 May 2017 / Published: 1 June 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2543 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview Improving Plant Water Use Efficiency through Molecular Genetics
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 31; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020031
Received: 20 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 21 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (486 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving crop performance under water-limiting conditions is essential for achieving environmentally sustainable food production. This requires significant progress in both the identification and characterization of key genetic and physiological processes involved in water uptake and loss. Plants regulate water uptake and loss through
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Improving crop performance under water-limiting conditions is essential for achieving environmentally sustainable food production. This requires significant progress in both the identification and characterization of key genetic and physiological processes involved in water uptake and loss. Plants regulate water uptake and loss through both developmental and environmental responses. These responses include: root morphology and architecture, cuticle development, stomatal development, and guard cell movements in response to the environment. Genes controlling root traits and stomatal development and guard cell movements strongly impact water use efficiency (WUE), and represent the best targets for molecular breeding programs. This article provides an overview of the complex networks of genes involved in water uptake and loss. These traits represent novel opportunities and strategies for genetic improvement of WUE and drought tolerance in crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview Soil Salinity: Effect on Vegetable Crop Growth. Management Practices to Prevent and Mitigate Soil Salinization
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 30; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020030
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Salinity is a major problem affecting crop production all over the world: 20% of cultivated land in the world, and 33% of irrigated land, are salt-affected and degraded. This process can be accentuated by climate change, excessive use of groundwater (mainly if close
[...] Read more.
Salinity is a major problem affecting crop production all over the world: 20% of cultivated land in the world, and 33% of irrigated land, are salt-affected and degraded. This process can be accentuated by climate change, excessive use of groundwater (mainly if close to the sea), increasing use of low-quality water in irrigation, and massive introduction of irrigation associated with intensive farming. Excessive soil salinity reduces the productivity of many agricultural crops, including most vegetables, which are particularly sensitive throughout the ontogeny of the plant. The salinity threshold (ECt) of the majority of vegetable crops is low (ranging from 1 to 2.5 dS m−1 in saturated soil extracts) and vegetable salt tolerance decreases when saline water is used for irrigation. The objective of this review is to discuss the effects of salinity on vegetable growth and how management practices (irrigation, drainage, and fertilization) can prevent soil and water salinization and mitigate the adverse effects of salinity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
Open AccessReview New Approaches to Irrigation Scheduling of Vegetables
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 28; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020028
Received: 19 February 2017 / Revised: 31 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 18 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using evapotranspiration (ET) data for scheduling irrigations on vegetable farms is challenging due to imprecise crop coefficients, time consuming computations, and the need to simultaneously manage many fields. Meanwhile, the adoption of soil moisture monitoring in vegetables has historically been limited by sensor
[...] Read more.
Using evapotranspiration (ET) data for scheduling irrigations on vegetable farms is challenging due to imprecise crop coefficients, time consuming computations, and the need to simultaneously manage many fields. Meanwhile, the adoption of soil moisture monitoring in vegetables has historically been limited by sensor accuracy and cost, as well as labor required for installation, removal, and collection of readings. With recent improvements in sensor technology, public weather-station networks, satellite and aerial imaging, wireless communications, and cloud computing, many of the difficulties in using ET data and soil moisture sensors for irrigation scheduling of vegetables can now be addressed. Web and smartphone applications have been developed that automate many of the calculations involved in ET-based irrigation scheduling. Soil moisture sensor data can be collected through wireless networks and accessed using web browser or smartphone apps. Energy balance methods of crop ET estimation, such as eddy covariance and Bowen ratio, provide research options for further developing and evaluating crop coefficient guidelines of vegetables, while recent advancements in surface renewal instrumentation have led to a relatively low-cost tool for monitoring crop water requirement in commercial farms. Remote sensing of crops using satellite, manned aircraft, and UAV platforms may also provide useful tools for vegetable growers to evaluate crop development, plant stress, water consumption, and irrigation system performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview Climate Change Impacts on Water Use in Horticulture
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 27; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020027
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
PDF Full-text (325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The evidence for anthropogenic global climate change is strong, and the projected climate changes could greatly impact horticultural production. For horticulture, two of the biggest concerns are related to the scarcity of water for crop production and the potential for increased evapotranspiration (ET).
[...] Read more.
The evidence for anthropogenic global climate change is strong, and the projected climate changes could greatly impact horticultural production. For horticulture, two of the biggest concerns are related to the scarcity of water for crop production and the potential for increased evapotranspiration (ET). While ET is known to increase with air temperature, it is also known to decrease with increasing humidity and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Considering all of these factors and a plausible climate projection, this paper demonstrates that ET may increase or decrease depending on the magnitude of atmospheric changes including wind speed. On the other hand, the evidence is still strong that water resources will become less reliable in many regions where horticultural crops are grown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Open AccessReview Nitrogen Related Diffuse Pollution from Horticulture Production—Mitigation Practices and Assessment Strategies
Horticulturae 2017, 3(1), 25; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3010025
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (831 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture is considered one of the main nitrogen (N) pollution sources through the diffuse emissions of ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) to the atmosphere and nitrate (NO3) to water bodies. The risk is particularly high
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Agriculture is considered one of the main nitrogen (N) pollution sources through the diffuse emissions of ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) to the atmosphere and nitrate (NO3) to water bodies. The risk is particularly high in horticultural production systems (HPS), where the use of water and fertilizers is intensive and concentrated in space and time, and more specifically, in the case of vegetable crops that have high growth rates, demanding an abundant supply of water and nitrogen forms. Therefore, to comply with the EU environmental policies aimed at reducing diffuse pollution in agriculture, there is the need for mitigation practices or strategies acting at different levels such as the source, the timing and the transport of N. HPS are often well suited for improvement practices, but efficient and specific tools capable of describing and quantifying N losses for these particular production systems are required. The most common mitigation strategies found in the literature relate to crop, irrigation and fertilization management. Nevertheless, only the success of a mitigation strategy under specific conditions will allow its implementation to be increasingly targeted and more cost effective. Assessment methods are therefore required to evaluate and to quantify the impact of mitigation strategies in HPS and to select the most promising ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper Stress Coefficients for Soil Water Balance Combined with Water Stress Indicators for Irrigation Scheduling of Woody Crops
Horticulturae 2017, 3(2), 38; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3020038
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There are several causes for the failure of empirical models to estimate soil water depletion and to calculate irrigation depths, and the problem is particularly critical in tall, uneven, deficit irrigated (DI) crops in Mediterranean climates. Locally measured indicators that quantify water status
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There are several causes for the failure of empirical models to estimate soil water depletion and to calculate irrigation depths, and the problem is particularly critical in tall, uneven, deficit irrigated (DI) crops in Mediterranean climates. Locally measured indicators that quantify water status are useful for addressing those causes and providing feed-back information for improving the adequacy of simple models. Because of their high aerodynamic resistance, the canopy conductance of woody crops is an important factor in determining evapotranspiration (ET), and accurate stress coefficient (Ks) values are needed to quantify the impact of stomatal closure on ET. A brief overview of basic general principles for irrigation scheduling is presented with emphasis on DI applications that require Ks modelling. The limitations of existing technology related to scheduling of woody crops are discussed, including the shortcomings of plant-based approaches. In relation to soil water deficit and/or predawn leaf water potential, several woody crop Ks functions are presented in a secondary analysis. Whenever the total and readily available water data were available, a simple Ks model was tested. The ultimate aim of this discussion is to illustrate the central concept: that a combination of simple ET models and water stress indicators is required for scheduling irrigation of deep-rooted woody crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refining Irrigation Strategies in Horticultural Production)
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