|Author:||Rouina, B. B. ; Trigui, A. ; D'Andria, R. ; Boukhris, M. ; Chaïeb, M.|
|Book Group Author:||NA|
In Tunisia, olives are grown under severe rain-fed, arid conditions. To determine the behaviour of olive trees (cv. Chemlali Sfax) during the severe drought affecting Tunisian arid areas in 2002, a range of physiological parameters were investigated in three adjacent orchards. Two olive orchards were rain-fed, one located on a sandy soil, and the other on a sandy-loam clay soil. A third orchard was also located on sandy soil, but received remedial irrigation (415 mm of water per year; ~40% of olive evapotranspiration). Predawn leaf water potential (Ψpd) did not fall below -1.52 MPa for irrigated olive trees. However, a large decrease in Ψpd was observed for rain-fed olive trees in the same period with Ψpd measured at about -3.2 MPa on sandy soil and -3.6 MPa on sandy-loam clay soil. At the same time, the minimal leaf water potential recorded at midday (Ψmin) decreased to -4.15 MPa and -4.71 MPa in the rain-fed trees for sandy and sandy-loam clay soil, respectively. For irrigated trees, the Ψmin was -1.95 MPa. These results were associated with relative water content, which varied from 80% for irrigated trees to 54 and 43.6%, respectively, for rain-fed trees and trees subjected to severe drought. In August, when the relative water content values were less than 50%, a progressive desiccation in the outer layer of canopy and death of terminal shoots were observed in trees, which grew on the sandy-loam clay soil. Furthermore, low soil water availability also affected (negatively) the net photosynthetic rate in rain-fed orchards (10.3 µmol/m2.s for irrigated trees v. 5.3 µmol/m2.s in rain-fed trees on sandy soil) and stomatal conductance (98.5 mmol/m2.s v. 69.3 mmol/m2.s). However, it improved water use efficiency (7.6 v. 4.7 µmol CO2/mmol H2O), which increased by more than 50% in both groups of rain-fed trees compared with the irrigated ones. We can conclude that olive trees respond to drought by showing significant changes in their physiological and biological mechanisms. These results also help our understanding of how olive trees cope with water stress in the field and how marginal soils can restrict growth and lower yields.
|Pages:||1484 - 1490|
|Journal:||Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture|
crop yield, drought, drought resistance, fruits, leaf waterpotential, olives, photosynthesis, plant water relations, soil types,stress, stress response, transpiration, water content, water stress,water use efficiency, Tunisia, Olea europaea, Olea, Oleaceae,Scrophulariales, dicotyledons, angiosperms, Spermatophyta, plants,eukaryotes, Maghreb, North Africa, Africa, Mediterranean Region,Developing Countries, Threshold Countries, Francophone Africa, carbonassimilation, carbon dioxide fixation, drought tolerance, Oleales,Horticultural Crops (FF003) (New March 2000), Plant Water Relations(FF062), Plant Production (FF100), Environmental Tolerance of Plants(FF900), Soil Morphology, Formation and Classification (JJ400)