We evaluated the potential of sap flow values estimated from records with the heat dissipation method for irrigation in an olive orchard (Olea europaea L, cv. Meski) near Enfidha, Tunisia. Trees were cultivated at 7 × 7 m spacing. Two drip irrigation treatments were imposed using the sap flow and the FAO methods. The two treatments were irrigated by 100% of crop evaptranspiration (ETc). T1: ETc measured by the sap flow method and T2: ETc estimated by the FAO method. Sap flow, leaf and stem water potentials, leaf photosynthetic activity, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were recorded in representative trees from both treatments, during the full irrigation season from April to August. Results showed that the irrigation dose calculated from T2, based on FAO method compared to the T1, based on sap flow decreased by about 25%. Under T1 irrigation scheduling strategy, the daily transpiration decreased by 20% and consequently the water potentials were decreased significantly. Infect, olive trees under T1 were moderately stressed and subsequently leaf gas exchange parameters were affected by about 15%.
Key words: Sap flow, water potential, leaf photosynthetic activity, olive tree, Olea europaea irrigation scheduling.
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