Ongoing variations in rainfall and temperature regimes affect the physiology and productivity of grapevines, calling for irrigation in drought-prone areas. During vintage 2015, we monitored plants water status and indirectly assessed rooting depth and exploited water sources (oxygen isotope analyses) in a mature Vitis vinifera cv. Malvasia Istriana vineyard on red soils ("terra rossa") developed on highly permeable carbonate rocks. We also investigated effects of topsoil irrigation or late summer rains on plant water status and yield. Under the harsh summer environmental conditions of 2015, the plant water status was overall favorable (moderate water deficit) and never reached critical levels, suggesting that irrigation was not mandatory. Leaf conductance to water vapor (g(L)) measured in July decreased by about 70% compared to spring, while minimum leaf water potential (Psi(min)) dropped by only 16%, suggesting an isohydric behavior of the cultivar (strict stomatal control of transpiration). Both Psi(min) and g(L) reached a minimum in July (peak of drought), and returned to pre-drought values in late summer. Rainfalls or supplemental irrigation (about 40 mm) promoted prompt recovery of plant water status. Irrigation treatments or occasional summer rainfalls can influence the water status of plants, although roots have access to deep water sources. In fact, the isotopic composition of xylem sap was similar to that of soil water sampled in a nearby deep cave, supporting the hypothesis that deep soil is the main water source for grapevines in karstic areas during summertime. Deficit irrigation, based on careful evaluation of physiological indicators of plant water status, might be an effective strategy for promoting sustainable viticulture, and a rationale use of water resources in karstic ecosystems.

Vineyard water relations in a karstic area: deep roots and irrigation management

Stenni, Barbara;
2018-01-01

Abstract

Ongoing variations in rainfall and temperature regimes affect the physiology and productivity of grapevines, calling for irrigation in drought-prone areas. During vintage 2015, we monitored plants water status and indirectly assessed rooting depth and exploited water sources (oxygen isotope analyses) in a mature Vitis vinifera cv. Malvasia Istriana vineyard on red soils ("terra rossa") developed on highly permeable carbonate rocks. We also investigated effects of topsoil irrigation or late summer rains on plant water status and yield. Under the harsh summer environmental conditions of 2015, the plant water status was overall favorable (moderate water deficit) and never reached critical levels, suggesting that irrigation was not mandatory. Leaf conductance to water vapor (g(L)) measured in July decreased by about 70% compared to spring, while minimum leaf water potential (Psi(min)) dropped by only 16%, suggesting an isohydric behavior of the cultivar (strict stomatal control of transpiration). Both Psi(min) and g(L) reached a minimum in July (peak of drought), and returned to pre-drought values in late summer. Rainfalls or supplemental irrigation (about 40 mm) promoted prompt recovery of plant water status. Irrigation treatments or occasional summer rainfalls can influence the water status of plants, although roots have access to deep water sources. In fact, the isotopic composition of xylem sap was similar to that of soil water sampled in a nearby deep cave, supporting the hypothesis that deep soil is the main water source for grapevines in karstic areas during summertime. Deficit irrigation, based on careful evaluation of physiological indicators of plant water status, might be an effective strategy for promoting sustainable viticulture, and a rationale use of water resources in karstic ecosystems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3700793
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