Citrus is grown in semi-arid regions or subtropical regions in large parts of the world, where rainfall is seasonal and irrigation a necessity. Water is a vitally important element in all ecosystems and as agriculture is the largest user of fresh water resources, it needs to be efficient in the use of water. This is particularly true for the citrus industry, as it has a significant irrigation requirement. Good irrigation scheduling practices rely on accurate estimates of plant water-use (transpiration) for different climatic regions, citrus varieties, tree and canopy size, and choice of rootstock. This usually requires the use of a model, where a thorough understanding of the regulation of transpiration will improve the estimation capabilities of such a model. Results from our study (Quantifying citrus water use and water stress at tree and orchard scale, Water Research Commission Project K5/2275//4) showed that transpiration (T) follows diurnal and seasonal trends and is influenced by stomatal conductance (gs) and leaf water potentials (Ѱl). Good correlations between T and temperature, vapour pressure deficit (VPD) and solar radiation (SR) were found, indicating the importance of the environment in supplying the energy to drive transpiration. There was also a good relationship between canopy size and T, with larger canopies having higher T.
Part of the book: Citrus