Monitoring grapevine water status by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and plant based sensors

G. Caruso, G. Palai, L. Tozzini, R. Gucci, C. D’Onofrio
In the last decade unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used for the monitoring of plant water status due to their flexibility in flight scheduling and the increasing availability of miniaturized sensors. Similarly, plant based sensors are becoming of common use to continuously monitor different parameters related to plant water status. We tested the use of UAV thermal imaging and dendrometers for the estimation of grapevine water status in a commercial vineyard (Vitis vinifera ‘Sangiovese’) where three irrigation regimes were established: full irrigation (FI, 100% of ET0), sustained deficit irrigation (DI, 40% of full irrigation) and rainfed (RF, only precipitation). The stem water potential (SWP) was measured throughout the growing season. Thermal images were acquired from an altitude of 50 m above ground level. Three vines for each irrigation treatment were equipped with trunk dendrometers in order to measure continuously the daily trunk diameter fluctuations. Before veraison the stem water potential and the crop water stress index (CWSI) derived by thermal images were able to discriminate fully-irrigated vines from those of other treatments (DI and RF). After veraison the same indices were able to discriminate the three irrigation treatments. The maximum daily shrinkage (MDS) derived from the daily course of trunk fluctuation, showed significant differences in grapevine water status between irrigation treatments only before veraison. Further investigations are needed to tune the integration of remote sensing techniques and field sensors to monitor water status in grapevines.
Caruso, G., Palai, G., Tozzini, L., Gucci, R. and D’Onofrio, C. (2024). Monitoring grapevine water status by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and plant based sensors. Acta Hortic. 1390, 279-284
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2024.1390.34
crop water stress index, dendrometer, maximum daily shrinkage, stem water potential, unmanned aerial vehicle, Vitis vinifera

Acta Horticulturae