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Article
Peer-Review Record

Effects of Drip Irrigation Design on a Lemon and a Young Persimmon Orchard in Semi-Arid Conditions

Water 2021, 13(13), 1795; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131795
Reviewer 1: Joshua D. Klein
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Water 2021, 13(13), 1795; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13131795
Received: 12 April 2021 / Revised: 14 June 2021 / Accepted: 23 June 2021 / Published: 29 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Management in Woody Crops: Challenges and Opportunities)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors put a lot of effort into setting up the experiments described in this manuscript. Unfortunately, they did not use an English-language editor for their writing, they did not analyze fruit quality resulting from the different irrigation regimes, and most importantly they did not use sufficiently mature persimmon trees to make their results valid for commercial orchards. I recommend rejection, unless the authors significantly change the current manuscript.

There are many many many English language mistakes in this manuscript. I gave up listing after a while, but here are some.

line 18 drop agronomic / amounts/ drop application

19 drop 'per tree's row"/in each row in the orchard

22 drop "tree's" it appears 6 times in the mss and is wrong each time. What do you mean by 'tree's row'??

26 by the third year of the trial

27 only had a significant effect/ drop when increasing/ in proportion to number of drippers

28 drop "in...general"

29 what is "irrigation agronomic design"?

40 since early 80s--> for the past 40 years

45 "at this regard" unclear meaning

60 olive with sandy loam texture? not tasty, unless you mean something else

80 in--> at

130 tree's--> the tree

131 what does "trunk's rows" mean?

137 "peaks for"--> peak

At this point I got tired. Hire an editor.

Technical points

158 were fruit harvested from all around the tree?

163 hue angle is a better and more unified measure of color. Why did you use color index?

Table 4 why no statistics? Why not measure soil moisture at a certain depth (25 cm, for example)?

Figs 1 and 2. Measurements are taken from 10 days to 5 months apart, but the data are presented as if they were taken at uniform intervals. This makes peaks and valleys appear where they do not really exist.

Table captions should say whether lemon or persimmon data are being presented.

BUT-- I do not think that the persimmon data can be published as being representative of a commercial orchard. Up to the age of around 5 years, fruit trees are immature and do not behave as they will from year  6 to year 20 or 30. Persimmon trees in this manuscript increased 2-3X in yield each year, which is not the case with the mature lemon trees. Since the mss. is about irrigation of orchards, and not about orchard establishment, I do not see how the persimmon data can be presented .

If the authors have data on fruit quality (sugar/acid, juiciness, peel/flesh ratio), then maybe they can get a paper out of the lemon data. The persimmon data should not be combined with the lemon data, since the trees are at very different developmental stages.

 

Author Response

Reviewer 1:

Reviewer Comment (RC): The authors put a lot of effort into setting up the experiments described in this manuscript. Unfortunately, they did not use an English-language editor for their writing

Author Response (AR): The manuscript was given to an English-language editor (PhD Mario Fon from California, USA) which fully revised the English. Please note that this response to reviewers cover letter was not edited by the English native speaker.

 

AR:  they did not analyze fruit quality resulting from the different irrigation regimes,

RC: Fruit composition in response to the irrigation regimes applied in lemon trees was reported in Table 7 were the effects of the explored treatments on SST, acidity, maturity index and color were analyzed. We agree that then we did not discuss in detail the obtained findings because the primary goal for the present research was to explore the effects of the irrigation designs. We anyway have now expanded the discussion for the obtained results.

 

RC: and most importantly they did not use sufficiently mature persimmon trees to make their results valid for commercial orchards. I recommend rejection, unless the authors significantly change the current manuscript.

AR: Persimmon trees were not mature. In fact, we do not claim that our results are valid for an established persimmon orchard, but rather the opposite, for an orchard during its establishment phase, which is very important for the future commercial orchards. In this sense, it is important to determine responses also in young trees. Moreover, plantations tend nowadays to have a much shorter life and it is important to characterize responses also during the first years after a plantation.

 

RC: There are many many many English language mistakes in this manuscript. I gave up listing after a while, but here are some.

AR: We agree the language style had to be improved. The manuscript was given to an English native speaker to improve the English.

 

RC: 158 were fruit harvested from all around the tree?

AR: Yes, it is now explained.

RC: 163 hue angle is a better and more unified measure of color. Why did you use color index?

AR: In persimmon fruit, the colour index is the most common determination carried out to indicate fruit colour (see for instance Salvador et al. 2007 Postharvest Biology and Technology 46:181-188).

 

RC: Table 4 why no statistics? Why not measure soil moisture at a certain depth (25 cm, for example)?

AR: Statistics have been carried out. Soil moisture was unfortunately not determined

RC: Figs 1 and 2. Measurements are taken from 10 days to 5 months apart, but the data are presented as if they were taken at uniform intervals. This makes peaks and valleys appear where they do not really exist.

AR: Figure 1 and 2 have been modified in order to have separate panels for each year avoiding linking determinations that were in fact taken 5-months apart.

 

RC: Table captions should say whether lemon or persimmon data are being presented.

AR: Table captions have been modified in order to include this proper suggestion

 

RC: BUT-- I do not think that the persimmon data can be published as being representative of a commercial orchard. Up to the age of around 5 years, fruit trees are immature and do not behave as they will from year  6 to year 20 or 30. Persimmon trees in this manuscript increased 2-3X in yield each year, which is not the case with the mature lemon trees. Since the mss. is about irrigation of orchards, and not about orchard establishment, I do not see how the persimmon data can be presented .If the authors have data on fruit quality (sugar/acid, juiciness, peel/flesh ratio), then maybe they can get a paper out of the lemon data. The persimmon data should not be combined with the lemon data, since the trees are at very different developmental stages.

RC: This is a good point, and we agree. In this sense, indeed, our persimmon and lemon trees are two crops that are still being established. In persimmon it is clear and in lemon, although the yield is similar between years, these are 5-year-old trees that are still far from reaching their potential, 150-200 kg per tree. Therefore, the manuscript now makes it clear that it refers to two young and establishing plantations of persimmon and lemon trees. We take advantage to correct that the yield data reported were actually not kg/ha but kg/tree. We are sorry for this mistake and we have corrected it.

Reviewer 2 Report

The results presented here make a novel contribution to understanding drip irrigation techniques in tree crops. The overall language, presentation, and methodology are coherent and easy to follow. The results are not hugely significant, but nonetheless verify observations about irrigation design in orchards. The manuscript needs to be revised for language and formatting, and several methods need to be described in more detail. In particular, the method to obtain data used for scheduling irrigation (ETo and precipitation) is entirely neglected. The introduction and discussion need to be revised, with introductory content introduced in the discussion. All conclusions drawn in the discussion are not equally well supported. I strongly suggest that the authors expand their discussion to consider the impact of deficit irrigation on canopy development in newly planted orchards- the discussion addresses this issue implicitly, but does not provide adequate context on how canopy development and water application affects long term productivity of orchards. Overall, the manuscript merits publication and the authors' treatment is thoughtful and clear. The manuscript only requires minor revisions and some attention to detail on presentation and content. Specific line comments and grammatical errors are noted on the attached pdf.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

RC: The results presented here make a novel contribution to understanding drip irrigation techniques in tree crops. The overall language, presentation, and methodology are coherent and easy to follow. The results are not hugely significant, but nonetheless verify observations about irrigation design in orchards. The manuscript needs to be revised for language and formatting, and several methods need to be described in more detail.

AR: English was fully revised

 

RC: In particular, the method to obtain data used for scheduling irrigation (ETo and precipitation) is entirely neglected.

AR: This information has been added and fully clarified

 

RC: The introduction and discussion need to be revised, with introductory content introduced in the discussion.

AR: This comment was taken into account and some aspects of the Discussion that were actually more introductory statements have been moved to the Introduction section. The Discussion has been improved by adding more information.

 

RC: All conclusions drawn in the discussion are not equally well supported. I strongly suggest that the authors expand their discussion to consider the impact of deficit irrigation on canopy development in newly planted orchards- the discussion addresses this issue implicitly, but does not provide adequate context on how canopy development and water application affects long term productivity of orchards.

AR: We have improved these aspects of the Discussion.

 

RC:  Overall, the manuscript merits publication and the authors' treatment is thoughtful and clear. The manuscript only requires minor revisions and some attention to detail on presentation and content. Specific line comments and grammatical errors are noted on the attached pdf.

AR: All the drafting suggestions raised specifically in the pdf filed provided have been taken into account. Responses to other significant comments included in the pdf file are provided below:

 

RC In Table 4 it was stated: This is an order of magnitude difference between the lemon and persimmon trials.  While it is mentioned in the text, please explain in more detail.  Seemingly, the shaded area of the persimmon trees is approximately an order of magnitude smaller than the lemon trees.  Is there a difference in how these are measured, or is it just a function of the age class of the trees?

 

AR: This is a function of both tree age and the different tree architecture. Persimmon trees are tall and upright trees while lemon trees are more globous. The canopy volume calculations were double checked and they are correctly reported.  In both lemon and persimmon trees canopy volume was measured using the same methodology. However, while lemon trees had a canopy diameter and height around 4 meters, in persimmon trees canopy diameter was only about 1.2 m and trees were not taller than 3 meters.

 

RC: “This is an important point considering the types of measurements that are presented (canopy size, etc.). This argument could be strengthened, even with anecdotal observations  about leaf wilting, LAI, or other more complete characterizations of the canopy.”

 

AR: The only data/observations we had were the pruning weights recorded and information about this was added. Unfortunately, no additional observations were noted.

 

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors have significantly improved the language of the manuscript, and have somewhat improved the scientific analysis. There is still some graphic and table editing required before the manuscript can be accepted, as well as matters to be considered in the discussion.

137 two lines in each row

Figures 1,2 Just put the bottom, multi-year, graph in each figure. The more detailed graphs do not contribute more information

Table 6 Where the differences are significant, pls put in mean separation letters

Table 7 This table demonstrates very well my central criticism of this manuscript. The lemon grove was already 6 years old and commercial, with similar yields each year. The persimmon orchard was definitely juvenile, with very low yields in the first two years, and a major jump the third year when it came into commercial production. Note that the g/fruit went down 12-15% in 2019 in persimmon, but the yield nearly doubled, on average. This is always the case as orchards mature. The status of the persimmon orchard, and its treatment, was therefore completely different from that of the lemon grove, which had relatively consistent yield over the period studied. The authors have indeed mentioned the disparity in maturity between the two crops, but have not emphasized the distinction enough. I still think though that the comparisons between the two crop irrigations are as between 'apples and oranges' or 'chalk and cheese' as we say in English, and that the conclusions drawn from one system with a mature orchard should be very separate from those drawn with another irrigation system with a juvenile orchard. 

Table 9. Why was color index so high in 2018?

372 NO. Most fruit trees are still grown for at least 10 commercially productive years, which come after at least 3-4 years of orchard establishment. The data in Table7 show a huge jump in persimmon yield in the 5th  (first truly commercial) year of the orchard, which will likely continue at this production level and greater for at least another 7-10 years. The lemon trees were already at commercial production when the experiment was initiated, and this point must be stressed in explaining the relevance of the data to commercial production.

Author Response

Valencia, June 13, 2021

 

Dear Guest Editors

 

Please find enclosed, the revised version for our review manuscript " Effects of drip irrigation agronomic design on young lemon (evergreen) and persimmon (deciduous) orchards in semi-arid conditions” by Margarita Parra, David Hortelano, Francisco García-Sánchez, Diego S. Intrigliolo and José S. Rubio-Asensio

 

We have carefully studied the minor comments provided by the reviewer, and revised our paper accordingly. In addition, once we revised the manuscript, we took advantage to improve additional minor more language details that we believe can improve the manuscript. The revisions have been approved by all authors and are all marked with the track changes option activated. We have accepted the previous revision and now only marked the new ones with respect to the previous version.

Below is included a detailed response (in red) to all the issues raised by the reviewer (in bold letters).

 

Sincerely Yours,              

 

Diego S. Intrigliolo

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Centro de Investigaciones sobre Desertificación

 

 

Reviewer comment (RC): The authors have significantly improved the language of the manuscript, and have somewhat improved the scientific analysis. There is still some graphic and table editing required before the manuscript can be accepted, as well as matters to be considered in the discussion.

Author response (AR): We would like to thank the reviewer for his/her constructive and helpful review.

 

RC: 137 two lines in each row

AR: Done

 

RC: Figures 1,2 Just put the bottom, multi-year, graph in each figure. The more detailed graphs do not contribute more information

AR: For lemon trees, the multiyear graph was added as suggested. However, for the persimmon trees, we believe it is better to keep the year-by-year graph. Below we show you the multi-year graph. It seems to us that in the graph included in the manuscript data can be better visualized.

 

RC: Table 6 Where the differences are significant, pls put in mean separation letters

AR: Mean separation letters have been added. For the sake of consistency, the same was also done for Table 8

 

RC: Table 7 This table demonstrates very well my central criticism of this manuscript. The lemon grove was already 6 years old and commercial, with similar yields each year. The persimmon orchard was definitely juvenile, with very low yields in the first two years, and a major jump the third year when it came into commercial production. Note that the g/fruit went down 12-15% in 2019 in persimmon, but the yield nearly doubled, on average. This is always the case as orchards mature. The status of the persimmon orchard, and its treatment, was therefore completely different from that of the lemon grove, which had relatively consistent yield over the period studied. The authors have indeed mentioned the disparity in maturity between the two crops, but have not emphasized the distinction enough. I still think though that the comparisons between the two crop irrigations are as between 'apples and oranges' or 'chalk and cheese' as we say in English, and that the conclusions drawn from one system with a mature orchard should be very separate from those drawn with another irrigation system with a juvenile orchard. 

AR: We fully agree with the reviewer that persimmon orchard was still at the juvenility stage while the lemon trees nearly reached a commercial production. We have tried to make this clear by even changing the title of the manuscript and adding a reference to this in the summary. We are not trying to compare the results between the two trials. However, in order to increase the impact of the manuscript, we prefer to report data from both field experiments. The results obtained in both experiments allowed us to conclude that: “within the range of soil wetted areas explored here both in a still juvenile persimmon orchard and more mature lemon one, the installation of a single drip line seems sufficient to ensure near-optimum tree performance”.

 

Table 9. Why was color index so high in 2018?

AR: This is probably because fruits were harvested at a more mature stage. It is in fact mentioned within the manuscript: “In 2018, fruit from all treatments had a higher colour, index indicating a more intense orange color because the harvest was delayed with respect to the other seasons

372 NO. Most fruit trees are still grown for at least 10 commercially productive years, which come after at least 3-4 years of orchard establishment. The data in Table7 show a huge jump in persimmon yield in the 5th  (first truly commercial) year of the orchard, which will likely continue at this production level and greater for at least another 7-10 years. The lemon trees were already at commercial production when the experiment was initiated, and this point must be stressed in explaining the relevance of the data to commercial production.

AR: We have eliminated the sentence referring to the short life of modern orchards plantations. We agree with the reviewer that lemon orchard was at an already commercial production stage while the persimmon was still juvenile. We have tried to better stress these points in the Discussion section.

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

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