The performance of durian clones under supplementary irrigation

Parent Category: 1998

M. N. Jaafar


Specific data on crop response to water application are essential for irrigation design and management purposes. A field experiment was conducted in the durian orchard at MARDI Research Station in Seberang Perai (1992–1995) to determine the effect of irrigation on matured durian trees. Five-year-old durian (clone D24 and D99) trees were subjected to three levels of water regimes using micro-irrigation system. A water balance method approach was used to quantify the values of the water components. The water consumption patterns in each treatment were monitored by measuring the soil moisture changes in the root zone at discreet time and space intervals. Basic growth parameters such as trunk girth, canopy diameter and plant height were measured.Results indicate that supplementary irrigation during the drought period contributes to significant growth increments consistent with the amount of water supplied to meet the deficit. The crop water consumption basically depends on the atmospheric demand, soil water storage in the root zone and the individual plant canopy size. Water at root zone is preferentially removed from the area closest to the trunk. Water uptake then extends radially outwards to the end of canopy boundary and downwards to at least 1.2 m depth. In most months, rainfall is adequate to meet the plant water requirement. However, the drought from January to March can induce severe water deficit in the root zone. The D24 clone is more sensitive to water stress than D99. Non-irrigated plants have significantly lower plant height and canopy diameter increments, and a higher leaf drop during drought than the irrigated plants. The effect of irrigation on fruiting and flowering is not clear but D99 has significantly more fruit than D24.

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