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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 3, p. 779-783
    Received: Oct 9, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): vwnad@volcani.agri.gov.il
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Relations between Soil and Tree Stem Water Content and Bulk Electrical Conductivity under Salinizing Irrigation

  1. Arie Nadler *
  1. Institute of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Ministry of Agriculture, State of Israel, POB 6 Bet Dagan, Israel, 50250


In a semiarid region in a grapefruit (Nucellar ‘Marsh seedless, Citrus paradise Macf.) orchard irrigated with salinized waters, the water content (θ) and bulk electrical conductivity (σa) of the trees’ stems and the root-zone soil was monitored by time domain reflectometry (TDR) and electrical conductivity meter for a year. For the purpose of irrigation scheduling the objective was to verify correlations between (i) stem and soil θ and (ii) stem and soil σ. Measured θsoil and σa, soil were in good agreement with the irrigation treatments, peaking in summer and decreasing during autumn. Only a weak correlation between stem's σa and θ and the soil's parameters was found and attributed to time after installation of probes in the stem; the higher σa, stem (5–10 × 10−2 dS m−1), measured up to three months after installation, were accredited to the salt content of ruptured stem cells. After curing of the installation wound the insulating effect of the cells' membranes may explain the lower σa, stem (2–5 × 10−2 dS m−1) measured 3 to 12 mo after installation. Periods of θsoil increase (day of year [DOY] = 80–200, and 200–280) observed by the soil probes indicated surplus irrigation. Presently the rate, intensity, and variability of the grapefruit stem reaction to soil water status and salinity leaves the soil parameters as better indicators for accurate irrigation scheduling.

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