Water needs and irrigation management


We measure the crop evapotranspiration and water use efficiency in apple orchard with the eddy covariance methodology and relate it to tree physiology and environmental parameters. The aim is to provide an overall picture of the water cycle in agricultural systems to guide water supply

Management of water resource for mountain viticulture

The impact of climate change on mountain viticulture is expected to be extremely significant in the near future. Higher temperature, a general reduction of the precipitation and an increase in the number of consecutive dry days is already expanding the role played by irrigation for the achievement of the productive goals. We are interested in gaining scientific-based knowledge on the effects of different irrigation regimes, characterized by different levels of water shortage, on the main physiological, productive and quality traits of grapevine cultivated in mountain conditions. To do so, we set up manipulation experiments at different levels of water stress intensity and we perform a continuous monitoring of the soil-plant water status. We are particularly interested in testing the efficacy of new plant-based indexes of water stress (sap flow density and chlorophyll fluorescence) as reliable and early indicators of vine water status to guide irrigation management in the vineyards.

Water use efficiency in mountain apple orchards

Apple, a crop with relatively high-water requirements, is the major crop grown in the Trentino-South Tyrol region. In high-density apple orchards, drip irrigation is widespread and already allows significant water savings compared to irrigation techniques used in the recent past. Nevertheless, additional measures need to be taken to further increase the water use efficiency (WUE) of apple orchards to cope with future climate scenarios. We aim to improve the understanding of the physiological mechanisms by which management practices can be exploited for this purpose. Currently, in cooperation with Laimburg Research Centre, we focus on trials that examine the drought tolerance of different rootstock genotypes and novel irrigation techniques (regulated deficit irrigation, partial rootzone drying) to minimize the irrigation water use while maintaining yield and fruit quality.