In regions with Mediterranean climate, water is the major environmental resource that limits growth and production of plants, experiencing a long period of water scarcity during summer. Despite the fact that most plants developed morphological, anatomical, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms that allow to cope with such environments, these harsh summer conditions reduce growth, yield, and fruit quality. Irrigation is implemented to overcome such effects. Conditions of mild water deficit imposed by deficit irrigation strategies, with minimal effects on yield, are particularly suitable for such regions. Efficient irrigation strategies and scheduling techniques require the quantification of crop water requirements but also the identification of pertinent water stress indicators and their threshold. This chapter reviews the scientific information about deficit irrigation recommendations and thresholds concerning water stress indicators on peach trees, olive trees, and grapevines, as case studies.
Part of the book: Irrigation in Agroecosystems