Growth and production of young peach trees irrigated by furrow, microjet, surface drip, or subsurface drip systems
Bryla, D.R.; Trout, T.J.; Ayars, J.E.; Johnson, R.S.
HortScience 38(6): 1112-1116
A 3-year study was conducted in central California to compare the effects of furrow, microjet, surface drip, and subsurface drip irrigation on vegetative growth and early production of newly planted 'Crimson Lady' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees. Furrow treatments were irrigated every 7, 14, or 21 days; microjet treatments were irrigated every 2-3, 7, or 14 days; and surface and subsurface drip (with one, two, or three buried laterals per row) treatments were irrigated when accumulated crop evapotranspiration reached 2.5 mm. The overall performance showed that trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip were significantly larger, produced higher yields, and had higher water use efficiency than trees irrigated by microjets. In fact, more than twice as much water had to be applied to trees with microjets than to trees with drip systems in order to achieve the same amount of vegetative growth and yield. Yield and water use efficiency were also higher under surface and subsurface drip irrigation than under furrow irrigation, although tree size was similar among the treatments. Little difference was found between trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip, except that trees irrigated with only one subsurface drip lateral were less vigorous, but not less productive, than trees irrigated by one surface drip lateral, or by two or three subsurface drip laterals. Within furrow and microjet treatments, irrigation frequency had little effect on tree development and performance with the exception that furrow irrigation every 3 weeks produced smaller trees than furrow irrigation every 1 or 2 weeks.