Application of EMI and FDR sensors to assess the fraction of transpirable soil water over an olive grove

Giuseppe Provenzano, Mirko Castellini, Giovanni Rallo, Àngela Puig Sirera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate soil water status measurements across spatial and temporal scales are still a challenging task, specifically at intermediate spatial (0.1-10 ha) and temporal (minutes to days) scales. Consequently, a gap in knowledge limits our understanding of the reliability of the spatial measurements and its practical applicability in agricultural water management. This paper compares the cumulative EM38 (Geonics Ltd., Mississauga, ON, Canada) response collected by placing the sensor above ground with the corresponding soil water content obtained by integrating the values measured with an FDR (frequency domain reflectometry) sensor. In two field areas, characterized by different soil clay content, two Diviner 2000 access tubes (1.2 m) were installed and used to quantify the dimensionless fraction of transpirable soil water (FTSW). After the calibration, the work proposes the combined use of the FDR and electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensors to measure and map FTSW. A strong correlation (R2= 0.86) between FTSW and EM38 bulk electrical conductivity was found. As a result, field changes of FTSW are due to the variability of soil water content and soil texture. As with the data acquired in the field, more structured patterns occurred after a wetting event, indicating the presence of subsurface flow or root water uptake paths. After assessing the relationship between the soil and crop water status, the FTSW domain includes a critical value, estimated around 0.38, below which a strong reduction of relative transpiration can be recognized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

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