Evapotranspiration, crop coefficient and growth of two young pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) varieties under salt stress

Parashuram Bhantana, Naftali Lazarovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is a drought-hardy crop, suited to arid and semi-arid regions, where the use of marginal water for agriculture is on the rise. The use of saline water in irrigation affects various biochemical processes. For a number of crops, yields have been shown to decrease linearly with evapotranspiration (ET) when grown in salt-stressed environments. In the case of pomegranate, little research has been conducted regarding the effect of salt stress. Our study focused on the responses of ET, crop coefficient (Kc) and growth in pomegranate irrigated with saline water. Experiments were conducted using lysimeters with two varieties of pomegranate, P. granatum L. vars. Wonderful and SP-2. The plants were grown with irrigation water having an electrical conductivity (ECiw) of 0.8, 1.4, 3.3, 4.8 and 8 dS m-1. Plants were irrigated with 120% of average lysimeter-measured ET. Seasonal variation in ET, crop coefficient (Kc) and growth were recorded. Variation in daily ET was observed 1 month after initiation of the treatments. While significant seasonal ET variation was observed for the EC-0.8 treatment, it remained more stable for the EC-8 treatment. Salinity treatment had a significant effect on both daily ET (F = 131, p < 0.01) and total ET (F = 112.68, p = 0.001). Furthermore, the electrical conductivity of the drainage water (ECdw) in the EC-8 treatment was five times higher than that of the EC-0.8 treatment in the peak season. Fitting the relative ET (ETr) to the Maas and Hoffman salinity yield response function showed a 10% decrease in ET per unit increase in electrical conductivity of the saturated paste extract (ECe) with a threshold of 1 dS m-1. If these parameters hold true in the case of mature pomegranate trees, the pomegranate should be listed as a moderately sensitive crop rather than a moderately tolerant one. Fitting 30-day interval ETr data to the Maas and Hoffman salinity yield response function showed a reduction in the slope as the season progressed. Thus using a constant slope in various models is questionable when studying crop-salinity interactions. In addition, both of the varieties showed similar responses under salt stress. Moreover, the calculated value of Kc is applicable for irrigation scheduling in young pomegranate orchards using irrigation water with various salinities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-722
Number of pages8
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2010


  • Crop coefficient
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Lysimeter
  • Pomegranate
  • Salt stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Evapotranspiration, crop coefficient and growth of two young pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) varieties under salt stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this