The effects of crop load and irrigation rate in the oil accumulation stage on oil yield and water relations of 'Koroneiki' olives

A. Naor*, D. Schneider, A. Ben-Gal, I. Zipori, A. Dag, Z. Kerem, R. Birger, M. Peres, Y. Gal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The interactions between irrigation rates applied during the oil accumulation stage and crop load were studied in a six-year-old very-high-density Koroneiki (Olea europaea L.) orchard. Five irrigation rates, determined as thresholds of midday stem water potential, were applied from July 1st until harvest in 2008 and 2009 and from July 1st to the end of September in 2010. Oil yield increased with increasing crop load in all the irrigation treatments. Oil yield did not respond to increasing irrigation at very low crop load and the higher the crop load the higher the response to irrigation. There was no response to irrigation at the lowest crop loads, but the higher the irrigation rate the higher the oil yield at high crop loads. The predicted commercial oil yield at common fruit counts increased from 1.99 t/ha at the lowest irrigation rate to 3.06 t/ha at the highest irrigation rate. Stomatal conductance decreased with decreasing stem water potential but leveled off at 30-60 mmol m-2 s-1 at stem water potential values lower than -4.0 MPa. High crop load increased stomatal conductance and decreased stem water potential relative to low crop load at low and medium irrigation rates. The effect of crop load on water relations became evident by the end of August and was well pronounced at the beginning of October. Physiological and irrigation water management implications related to the interactions between tree water status and crop load are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)781-791
Number of pages11
JournalIrrigation Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The research was supported by the Chief Scientists of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development project (556-0081).


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