Regulated deficit irrigation improved fruit quality and water use efficiency of pear-jujube trees

Ningbo Cui, Taisheng Du, Shaozhong Kang*, Fusheng Li, Jianhua ZHANG, Mixia Wang, Zhijun Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) was applied on field-grown pear-jujube trees in 2005 and 2006 and its effects on crop water-consumption, yield and fruit quality were investigated. Treatments included severe, moderate and low water deficit treatments at bud burst to leafing, flowering to fruit set, fruit growth and fruit maturation stages. Different deficit irrigation levels at different growth stages had significant effects on the fruit yield and quality. Moderate and severe water deficits at bud burst to leafing and fruit maturation stages increased fruit yield by 13.2-31.9% and 9.7-17.5%, respectively. Fruit yield under low water deficit at fruit growth and fruit maturation stages was similar to that of full irrigation (FI) treatment. All water deficit treatments reduced water consumption by 5-18% and saved irrigation water by 13-25% when compared to the FI treatment. During the bud burst to leafing stage, moderate and severe water deficits did not have effect on the fruit quality, but significantly saved irrigation water and increased fruit yield. Low water deficit during the fruit growth stage and low, moderate and severe water deficits during the fruit maturation stage had no significant effect on the fruit weight and fruit volume but reduced fruit water content slightly, which led to much reduced rotten fruit percentage during the post-harvest storage period. Such water deficit treatments also shortened the fruit maturation period by 10-15 d and raised the market price of the fruit. Fruit quality shown as fruit firmness, soluble solid content, sugar/acid ratio and vitamin C (VC) content were all enhanced as a result of deficit irrigation. Our results suggest that RDI should be adopted as a beneficial agricultural practice in the production of pear-jujube fruit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

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

User-Defined Keywords

  • Fruit production
  • Fruit quality
  • Pear-jujube (Zizyphus jujube Mill.)
  • Regulated deficit irrigation
  • Water use efficiency


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