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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1242: III International Symposium on Horticulture in Europe - SHE2016

Mulching combined with regulated deficit irrigation can be successfully applied to young pear trees

Authors:   L. Lepaja, E. Kullaj, K. Lepaja, A. Zajmi
Keywords:   Pyrus communis, water stress, wood chips, leaf surface, canopy volume
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1242.110
Abstract:
We investigated the effects of water stress (regulated deficit irrigation - RDI) and mulching on the vegetative growth response of young 'Williams' pear trees. Using a water budget methodology, four levels of irrigation, specifically 100% of evapotranspiration (ET) as control and deficits of 80, 60 and 40%, were applied to 10 trees during the season, 5 of which were mulched with wood chips at a 20-cm layer. The experiment was conducted in Kosovo during 2013, 2014 and 2015 in a three- to five-year-old pear orchard using a nested experimental design. We found significant changes in a series of vegetative growth parameters. Irrigation levels significantly influenced all parameters. Mulching had a positive effect on all parameter values measured. Our results confirmed that a moderate water stress reduces excessive vegetation growth, especially canopy volume, leaf surface and area, LAI and shoot length. It can be concluded that regulated deficit irrigation can be successfully applied to young pears too with significant water saving.

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