Background and aims The ever-increasing demand of fresh water from irrigated agriculture and the water scarcity condition that characterizes the Mediterranean region, encourages the adoption of efficient water saving strategies. In this study, the electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) technique was applied for characterizing the mass exchange mechanisms affecting the continuous soil-plant system of heterogeneous micro-irrigated orchards. Methods Time-lapse ERI surveys were carried out in a multi-variety and mixed-age orange orchard located in Eastern Sicily (insular Italy). The time-lapse ERI monitoring was coupled with the use of independent soil water content (SWC) measurements. Results and conclusions A clear relationship between the soil electrical resistivity (ER) and the measured SWC changes was identified in the soil under the mixed-age orchard (with an overall coefficient of determination value of 0.63). Specifically, this study highlights the dependency of SWC dynamics as function of tree age. Overall, an increase in ER was obtained in correspondence to the soil domain where the younger trees were located ( < = 3 years). This behaviour was inferred to result from the higher soil evaporation process active at these locations, due to less vegetation cover of the younger trees and, consequently to their lesser root extension in comparison to the mature trees ( > = 8 years). On the other hand, in mature trees, characterized by denser root biomass, there were more evident decreasing patterns of ER (i.e., greater changes in SWC), due to greater transpiration rates that caused lower initial SWC under these conditions in comparison to the younger trees.

Identifying soil-plant interactions in a mixed-age orange orchard using electrical resistivity imaging

Vanella, D;Longo Minnolo, G;Longo, D;D'Emilio, A;Consoli, S
2022

Abstract

Background and aims The ever-increasing demand of fresh water from irrigated agriculture and the water scarcity condition that characterizes the Mediterranean region, encourages the adoption of efficient water saving strategies. In this study, the electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) technique was applied for characterizing the mass exchange mechanisms affecting the continuous soil-plant system of heterogeneous micro-irrigated orchards. Methods Time-lapse ERI surveys were carried out in a multi-variety and mixed-age orange orchard located in Eastern Sicily (insular Italy). The time-lapse ERI monitoring was coupled with the use of independent soil water content (SWC) measurements. Results and conclusions A clear relationship between the soil electrical resistivity (ER) and the measured SWC changes was identified in the soil under the mixed-age orchard (with an overall coefficient of determination value of 0.63). Specifically, this study highlights the dependency of SWC dynamics as function of tree age. Overall, an increase in ER was obtained in correspondence to the soil domain where the younger trees were located ( < = 3 years). This behaviour was inferred to result from the higher soil evaporation process active at these locations, due to less vegetation cover of the younger trees and, consequently to their lesser root extension in comparison to the mature trees ( > = 8 years). On the other hand, in mature trees, characterized by denser root biomass, there were more evident decreasing patterns of ER (i.e., greater changes in SWC), due to greater transpiration rates that caused lower initial SWC under these conditions in comparison to the younger trees.
Geophysical methods
Electrical resistivity
Irrigation
Orange groves
Root water uptake
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/540464
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