We investigated the effects of partial rootzone drying (PRD) and rootstock vigor on water relations, vegetative and productive performance of ‘Pink Lady’ apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees in central Sicily. In a first field trial, trees on MM.106 rootstock were subjected to: Conventional irrigation (CI), maintaining soil moisture above 80% of field capacity; PRD irrigation, where only one alternated side of the rootzone received 50% of the CI irrigation water; and continuous deficit irrigation (DI), where 50% of the CI water was equally applied to both sides of the rootzone. In a second trial, trees on M.9 or MM.106 were subjected to CI and PRD irrigation. PRD reduced stomatal conductance (gs) more consistently in trees on MM.106 than in trees on M.9, but maintained relative water content (RWC) to the levels of CI. DI induced greater gs reductions than PRD and lower RWC than CI and PRD. Rootstock vigor did not influence plant response to irrigation strategy. PRD induced some reduction in fruit number but no change in yields and fruit quality compared to CI, whereas DI reduced fruit size and marketable yields. Significant reductions in shoot and leaf growth were induced by DI, whereas only leaf growth was affected by PRD. Our observations indicate that responses induced by PRD are due to a combination of the amount and way of applying water, and not just to reductions in irrigation volumes, suggesting a possible use of PRD for increasing apple water use efficiency in Mediterranean environments.
|Numero di pagine||10|
|Rivista||Australian Journal of Agricultural Research|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2008|
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