|Authors: ||G. Arampatzis, E. Hatzigiannakis, N. Kourgialas, G. Psarras, V. Kinigopoulou, A. Panagopoulos, G. Koubouris|
|Keywords: ||irrigation, Olea europaea L., rainfed cultivation, soil water content|
Olive tree cultivation has traditionally been a fundamental basis of the rural economy and a characteristic landscape feature of Mediterranean countries, forming a particular agro-ecosystem.
Today, it has become necessary to come up with integrated approaches for the cultivation of olive trees, adopting best practices and improvement plans that are customized for specific soil, microclimatic and plantation characteristics.
One of the most critical factors for olive tree growth and yields is the soil water content.
In this paper, seasonal variation and implications of soil water content at various depths (10, 20, 30 and 40 cm) in the root zone on olive fruit yield were examined.
This study was performed in two areas of Greece, one at Merambello in eastern Crete, with a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa), and the other at Trifilia, in south-western Peloponnese, with a wet Mediterranean climate (Csa). The soil water content was systematically monitored in twelve fields at each area, for a 3‑year period (2013-2015). For each area, six irrigated and six rainfed groves were employed and measurements of soil moisture and olive fruit yield were comparatively assessed.
Additionally, the average values of soil water content in the root zone are presented for every year and for two periods every year; one period was from May to October (dry period requiring irrigation), and the other was from November to April (rainfall period). Soils in the Trifilia area were classified as medium soil and in Merambello as medium and a minority of them as heavy soil.
The average soil water content in the Trifilia area was about 30% in the irrigated fields and 27% in the rainfed fields in the examined period (cm3 cm-3). In the Merambello area, the average soil water content was about 21% in the irrigated fields and 20% in the rainfed fields over the examined period.
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