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Is the productive performance of olive trees under localized irrigation affected by leaving some roots in drying soil?

Abstract : Localized irrigation, which wets a part of the root zone only, is widely used in olive orchards. The effect of partial wetting of the root zone on plant performance is unknown. The aim of this work was to compare fruit and oil yields in olive trees under localized irrigation (LI treatment) to those from trees with the whole root zone under non-limiting soil water conditions (Pond treatment). The LI trees received enough water to replace the crop water needs. The study was made for three consecutive years in mature 'Manzanilla de Sevilla' olive trees growing under field conditions. Main variables were also measured in young trees of the same cultivar growing in 50 L pots. Samples from rain-fed trees were also analysed. The LI trees showed similar water status than the Pond trees, but reduced stomatal conductance. As expected, the effect of the irrigation treatments on net photosynthesis was less evident. We observed a decrease in fruit yield in the LI trees, as compared to the Pond trees, likely because of the reduced gas exchange. No differences between the LI and Pond treatments were found for fruit weight, pulp:stone ratio, volume and the longitudinal and equatorial diameters. The LI treatment did not cause detrimental effect either on total oil content or virgin olive oil yield. The phenols content was greater in the LI treatment, but the (E)-hex-2-enal, one of the major volatile compounds and most related to the positive attributes of olive oil, was lower. No significant differences with the Pond treatment were found, however, in the sensory description of the oil flavours. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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A. Morales-Sillero, J. M. Garcia, Jose Manuel Torres Ruiz, A. Sanchez-Ortiz, J. E. Fernandez. Is the productive performance of olive trees under localized irrigation affected by leaving some roots in drying soil?. Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier Masson, 2013, 123, pp.79-92. ⟨10.1016/j.agwat.2013.03.008⟩. ⟨hal-02650975⟩



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