THE INFLUENCE OF METHOD AND FREQUENCY OF IRRIGATION ON SOIL AERATION AND SOME BIOCHEMICAL RESPONSES OF APPLE TREES
The effect of various irrigation regimes on soil aeration was tested in a two-year experiment with 15 year-old apple trees growing in soil containing 67% clay. Irrigation was applied by sprinklers at 4 intervals ranging from 3 to 18 days and by trickle irrigation every 7 days. Each treatment received a total of 800–850 mm water from May until September. Irrigation by sprinkling at 7 day intervals appeared to be optimal for fruit growth. Less frequent irrigations resulted in smaller fruits; sprinkling at 3–4 day intervals, as well as trickle irrigation, reduced the fruit growth rate in July. Leaves from plots irrigated once every 3–4 days had a low chlorophyll content and accumulated relatively large amounts of ethanol, particularly when grafted on the Khashabi rootstock, which is highly susceptible to damage caused by inadequate soil aeration. With increasing intervals between irrigations, the resistance of the leaf surface to the diffusion of water vapour measured prior to irrigation increased, and water loss relative to that from an evaporation pan decreased. Sprinkling at intervals of 14 days resulted in maximal, and at 3–4 days in minimal, air contents of the soil when calculated as averages for the total period of irrigation. The decreased in soil air content with very frequent irrigations was particularly marked in the upper soil layer; this same layer also had a relatively low air content near the emitters in trickle irrigation. After each irrigation, relatively large amounts of ethylene accumulated in the soil atmosphere, indicating inadequate soil aeration, particularly with spinkling intervals of 3–4 days and at a depth of 30 cm. However, the influence of the irrigation treatments on the oxygen and carbon dioxide contents of the soil atmosphere was small and not consistent.
Gur, A., Schkolnik, I., Sapir, E., Peled, M. and Dasberg, S. (1979). THE INFLUENCE OF METHOD AND FREQUENCY OF IRRIGATION ON SOIL AERATION AND SOME BIOCHEMICAL RESPONSES OF APPLE TREES. Acta Hortic. 89, 95-104