Irrigation Science

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 51–61 | Cite as

Evapotranspiration of citrus as affected by soil water deficit and soil salinity

  • H. M. du Plessis


The extent to which evapotranspiration (ET) of Valencia citrus trees is affected by differing soil water depletions (SWD) and soil salinity regimes was determined during five seasons during which soil salinity levels varied. Three weighing lysimeters, each with a 14 year old tree, were used to measure daily ET and to schedule irrigation to maintain SWD at maxima of 15, 75 and 150 mm respectively. Tensiometers and salinity sensors were used to indicate the in situ soil matric and soil solution osmotic potentials. Total soil water potential was calculated from tensiometer and salinity sensor readings weighted for root density with depth. The total of these for the summer months was found to be linearly related (Fig. 5) to the mean ET/Ep (Ep=A-pan evaporation). The slope and threshold of ET reductions with decreasing soil water potential for the low frequency irrigation treatment (150 mm SWD) show good agreement with the slope and threshold of yield decrease that is calculated from soil salinity in the lysimeter using previously reported salinity-yield relationships. The reduced water uptake due to increasing soil salinity has important implications for soil salinity control, since the lower uptake should in theory increase the leaching fraction. This implies a degree of self adjustment to the leaching fraction when irrigating with increasingly saline waters if water applications are scheduled as for non-saline conditions.


Soil Salinity Irrigation Treatment Soil Water Potential Citrus Tree Soil Water Deficit 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. du Plessis
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil and Irrigation Research InstitutePretoriaSouth Africa

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