Scheduling deficit subsurface drip irrigation of apple trees for optimizing water use

  • Chenafi AzzeddineEmail author
  • Monney Philippe
  • Maria Isabel Ferreira
  • Chennafi Houria
  • Maria Manuela Chaves
  • Carlen Christoph
EMCEI 2017
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Water resources and water management for environmental integration in the Euro-Mediterranean region


The impact of four different irrigation strategies on soil and plant water status and fluxes of photosynthesis (A) and chamber transpiration (E) has been studied under continental climate on field-grown apple trees (Malus domestica ‘Gala’) in 2010 and 2011. The non-irrigated treatment resulted in a decrease in soil water content (SWC) throughout the season in comparison with irrigated treatments. Non-irrigated trees showed more negative values of predawn leaf water potential (ΨP), which decreased to − 0.2 MPa, reflecting a moderate water stress during the fruit ripening period. A decrease (15 to 25%) of stomatal conductance (gs), leaf photosynthesis (A), and transpiration (E) were observed in these water-stressed trees (T1). Well-irrigated trees during the whole season (T2) showed the highest rates of gs, A, E, as well as of ΨP values, which were around − 0.1 MPa. Trees irrigated only during the fruit cell division period (stage I) and the ripening period (stage III) (T3) showed a small decrease (10%) in leaf gas exchanges. A regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) applied only during the fruit cell growth (stage II) on trees and well-irrigated during the fruit cell division period and the ripening period (T4) seems to have little effects on gas exchanges and no effects on yield and fruit quality before and after storage. Therefore, the results showed that with the exception of RDI treatment, increasing water stress reduced the physiological parameters due to stomatal and non-stomatal limiting factors. However, such regulated deficit irrigation saved 45% of water compared to the comfort irrigation. Considering these results, regulated deficit subsurface drip irrigation applied during the fruit growth II is a sustainable strategy for saving water, increasing water use efficiencies, and preserving the physicochemical quality of the apple fruits before and after storage.


Stomatal conductance Leaf water status Aquapro Soil-moisture Regulated deficit irrigation Phenological stage Water-stress 



The first author thanks Agroscope, Switzerland, and the Ministry of Superior Education and Scientific Research of Algeria for the financing of his doctoral thesis.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chenafi Azzeddine
    • 1
    Email author
  • Monney Philippe
    • 2
  • Maria Isabel Ferreira
    • 3
  • Chennafi Houria
    • 4
  • Maria Manuela Chaves
    • 5
  • Carlen Christoph
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Laboratory of Applied Hydraulics and Environment, Faculty of TechnologyUniversity of BejaiaBejaiaAlgeria
  2. 2.Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production SciencesContheySwitzerland
  3. 3.LEAF, Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Departement of AgronomyUniversity of SetifSétifAlgeria
  5. 5.Institute of Chemical and Biological TechnologyNew University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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