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Pomegranate trees performance under sustained and regulated deficit irrigation

Autores: D. S. Intrigliolo , L. Bonet, P. A. Nortes, H. Puerto, E. Nicolas, J. Bartual
Palabras clave: Deficit irrigation; Stem water potential; Yield
Fecha de publicación: 2013
Publicado en: Irrigation Science

Abstract The effects of sustained and regulated deficit
irrigation (SDI and RDI) on ‘‘Mollar de Elche’’ pomegranate
tree performance were investigated in a field trial
conducted over three consecutive seasons. In the RDI
regimes, severe water restrictions were applied during one
of three phases: flowering and fruit set, fruit growth, or the
final phase of fruit growth and ripening. In another
approach, SDI was applied by watering trees at 50 % of the
estimated crop water needs (ETc) during the entire season.
Results showed that even after three consecutive seasons of
water restrictions, similar yield levels were obtained in SDI
and Control trees watered at 100 % ETc. This was because
a 22 % reduction in average fresh fruit weight recorded in
the SDI treatment was compensated by an increase in 28 %
in the quantity of fruit collected per tree. This was most
likely due to a reduction in the fall of the reproductive
organs. However, the SDI strategy led to a reduction in
28 % in the yield value when fruits are sold for fresh fruit
markets. Water restrictions applied only during flowering
and fruit set also resulted in an increase in the quantity of
fruit collected per tree, with only a slight reduction in fruit
weight and without affecting the yield value. On the other
hand, severe water restrictions applied during the summer
(i.e., mid-phase of fruit growth) led to 24 % water savings
with only a 7 % reduction in fruit weight. Fruit cracking
was very low in all treatments and seasons (2–6 % over the
total quantity fruit collected per tree). Only the RDI regime
with restrictions during the summer increased cracking in
one out of the three seasons. It is concluded that RDI can
be used as a measure to cope with water scarcity and high
water prices. Among all the RDI explored, the one with
restrictions applied early in the season (during flowering
and fruit set) was the most convenient strategy

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