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Agricultural University of Tirana, Faculty of Agriculture & Environment, Department of Horticulture

al Address: Koder-Kamez, Tirana, Albania

Poster presented at the 7th International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops Geisenheim, Germany 16 - 20 July 2012

Xylem dynamics of different rootstock/scion combinations of apple under a hot, semi-arid Mediterranean climate
H. Domi1 E. Kullaj2, T. Spahiu2 and F. Thomaj2
1 2

ADAD, Tirana, Albania Dep. Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Agricultural University of Tirana, Kodr-Kamz, 1010, Tirana, Albania Tel: +355684096186 Email:


Increase of apple growing in the last decade in Albania has also broaden the range of cultivars/ rootstocks used as well as the areal of cultivation, towards the Western Plain, under a hot, semiarid Mediterranean climate. The main cultivar in the Western Plain is still Golden Delicious (GD) on M9 (EMLA). Other alternative cultivars are Red Delicious (RD) and Pink Lady (PL). The object of this study was to assess the behaviour of these cultivars under a cultivation regime with high radiation and temperatures.

Material and Methods

The study was conducted during 2011 in an commercial orchard of 2 ha, in the area of Rinas, central leader system, 3rd year. Sap ow sensors (SF) EMS 62 (EMS Brno, CZ), based on

Fig. 5. Relationship between daily potential evapotranspiration (PET), soil water potential (SWP) and average sap ow values of the three cultivars under study. The gap in data is due to module malfunctioning during a 9-day period.

Table 1: Comparison between biometric and sap ow measurements

Rootstock/Scion Golden Delicious/Pajam 2 Fuji/Pajam 2 Idared/Pajam 2 TCSA rootstock 475.1 439.7 525.2 TCSA scion 213.0 210.9 242.2 Average sap Total sap No. Total branch TCSA of flow values flow values branches length (cm) all branches (kg/h) (kg/h) 7.2 3 7.4 401.6 243.2 395.2 2018.9 607.0 2874.8 0.039 0.037 0.057 156.64 148.38 227.2

Fig. 1. System containing sap ow, dendrometer, and gypsum block modules and a datalogger

Fig. 2. Installation of gypsum block sensors for measuring soil water potential at two different depths

THB (tissue heat balance) method (Figure 1), were installed on the main leader, measuring sap ow every minute from August to September (with a 9-day interruption of measurements due to module malfunctioning), on 2 trees for each of the following rootstock/scion combinations Golden Delicious/Pajam2, (GD/ P2), Fuji/Pajam2 (FU/P2) and Idared/Pajam2 (ID/P2). Gypsum blocks sensors were used to measure SWP at two different depths, 10 and 20 cm respectively (Figure 2). A portable meteorological station (Minikin RTHi) measured the global radiation (R), temperature (Ta) and relative humidity (RH) (Figure 3). Vapout Pressure Decit (VPD) and Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) was calculated (Penman-Monteith). Trunk Fig. 3. Minikin RTHi sensor measuring global Cross-Sectional Area (TCSA) was measured for radiation, air temperature and relative humidity rootstock, trunk, individual and all branches. Length of branches was measured too. A linear regression analysis was undertaken to study different regression models which better predict sap ow by measuring environmental variables.

Biometric measurements showed a different vigour of cultivars with Idared having the highest vigour whilst Fuji a very low vigour (Table 1).

It seems clearly that cultivar Fuji on Pajam 2 rootstock has lower levels of transpiration compared to other cultivars, as a results of a more favourable ratio between the reproductive and vegetative growth, which makes it more adaptable for this arid area of cultivation. Based on the characteristics of the data for the different regression models studied (Figures 6), it can be concluded that sap ow was better predicted (higher r2) by changes in ET (Figure 6A). Because sap ow is an integrative indicator and encompass a similar time scale, reecting the continuous sap ow records on a daily basis, it is to be expected that both indicators will correlate better with the evaporative demand indicators measured on a whole-day basis. Thus, this nding conrms previous results on lemon trees and peach and reects the direct relationship between SF and daily transpiration. Global radiation and even air temperature are useful climatic variables for predicting SF reference values because are easily measured.
Fig. 6. Relationship between average sap ow of the three cultivars and evapotranspiration (6A), vapour pressure decit of the air (6B), global radiation (6C), air temperature (6D) and air humidity (6E).



Results and Discussion

The upper window of Figure 4 shows daily values of R and VPD, the two main environmental variables driving stomata opening and closing. These values and also those of air temperature and relative humidity are relatively high for a temperate species like apple. Maximum values of potential evapotranspiration were 1 mm/h with slight variation during the entire measurement period. SWP values during the entire measurement period has enough variation which allowed to analyse the xylem hydraulic behaviour (Figure 5, lower window). Sap ow values for ID/P2 had an average of 0,056 kg/h with maximum 0,221; those of GD/P2 had an average of 0,038 kg/h with maximum 0.130 kg/h while those of FU/P2 had an average of 0.036 kg/h with maximum 0.161 kg/h (Figure 5, upper window).



Fig. 4. Daily pattern of R, VPD, Ta and RH during the investigated period from Aug, 1st to Sept. 10th