Seasonal changes in dendrometer-derived stem variation in apple trees grown in temperate climate
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Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB), Department of Horticultural Engineering, Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
Final revision date: 2022-07-06
Acceptance date: 2022-07-11
Publication date: 2022-09-02
Corresponding author
Werner B. Herppich   

Technik im Gartenbau, Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e. V. (ATB), Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469, Potsdam, Germany
Int. Agrophys. 2022, 36(4): 245-255
  • Diel trunk diameter changes reveal effect of climate variables on MDS in apple trees.
  • This was valid even when excluding soil water limitations.
  • Duration of daily contraction varied with seasonal changes in VPD.
  • SRI tended to change inversely to contraction and recovery phases.
  • Daily phase durations indicate drivers of water storage dynamics.
Studies of daily changes in tree trunk diameter provide valuable information concerning growth patterns and their relationships with varying environmental conditions. To date, very few experiments with fruit trees evaluated the effects of climate variation on trunk shrinkage and the duration of the contraction and recovery phases and of growth. In this study, electronic dendrometers continuously monitored trunk diameter and trunk water storage dynamics of drip-irrigated ‘Gala’ apple trees (Malus x domestica Borkh.) during three growing seasons, which differed significantly in temperature, precipitation, air humidity and solar irradiation. It was found that trunk diameter and meteorological variables were closely related, even when excluding the effects of soil water limitations. During each growing season, the durations of the daily contraction phase began to increase with increasing water vapour partial pressure deficit, and decreased again in autumn, when vapour partial pressure decreased. Throughout the season, the duration of the growth phase tended to change inversely to that of both contraction and recovery phase. The relationship between maximum trunk shrinkage and vapour partial pressure was higher post than pre harvest for all years studied. The duration of contraction, recovery, and growth phases may provide valuable information concerning seasonal changes and environmental drivers of water storage dynamics in apple trees.
Project IRRIWELL (A novel plant-based approach to estimate irrigation water needs and the application of optimal deficit strategy, grant number 01DH21016, 2021-2024) funded the investigation through a PRIMA initiative of Members States, Associated Countries and Participating Countries. German funding source: BMWK (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz), Berlin; German funding agency: DLR (Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.), Bonn.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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