Effects of water deficit and salinity stress on late mandarin trees
To maintain the viability of citrus farms in a scenario of scarce water supplies for irrigation purposes, such as in south-eastern Spain, it is necessary to detect the maximum threshold of crop water status and vegetative growth, both of which are vulnerable to the combined effect of water and salinity stress. With this aim, adult late mandarin trees were subjected to a gradual increase in salinity of the irrigation water for four consecutive growing seasons, accompanied by a water deficit for the first three seasons, while the fourth season counted as a recovery period. The treatments tested were: i) control (CTL), irrigated at 100% of the ETc in the first season followed by an additional 33% water leaching requirement in the second and third seasons; (ii) a regulated deficit irrigation (RDI100) treatment, irrigated as the CTL except in phase I and until mid-phase II, coinciding with the beginning of the slowdown in trunk growth, where irrigation was set at 65 and 50% CTL in the first and last two seasons, respectively, and 80% in phase III; (iii) RDI50, irrigated as the CTL during the first season, and from the second season onwards, at 50% RDI100 during the deficit period; (iv) FARMER, irrigated in accordance with the farmer's criteria. A moderate saline water stress combined with the application of RDI100 treatment did not reduce crop yield after one growing season, but did reduce plant growth. However, after two consecutive seasons (in both RDI strategies) water stress drastically reduced both yield and plant growth, mainly due to a high accumulation of sodium and chloride in the leaves. Gas exchange parameters were also greatly reduced. Furthermore, it was found that the water deficit could be prolonged until the trunk growth slowed down during the second fruit growth stage in mandarin trees, leading to a substantial increase in water productivity values.
|Título de la Revista:||SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT|
|Fecha de publicación:||2021|