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The water relations and irrigation requirements of lychee (litchi chinensis sonn.): a review

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Carr, M. K. V. and Menzel, C. M. (2014) The water relations and irrigation requirements of lychee (litchi chinensis sonn.): a review. Experimental Agriculture, 50 (4). pp. 481-497. ISSN 00144797

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org10.1017/S0014479713000653


The results of research into the water relations and irrigation requirements of lychee are collated and reviewed. The stages of plant development are summarised, with an emphasis on factors influencing the flowering process. This is followed by reviews of plant water relations, water requirements, water productivity and, finally, irrigation systems. The lychee tree is native to the rainforests of southern China and northern Vietnam, and the main centres of production remain close to this area. In contrast, much of the research on the water relations of this crop has been conducted in South Africa, Australia and Israel where the tree is relatively new. Vegetative growth occurs in a series of flushes. Terminal inflorescences are borne on current shoot growth under cool (<15 °C), dry conditions. Trees generally do not produce fruit in the tropics at altitudes below 300 m. Poor and erratic flowering results in low and irregular fruit yields. Drought can enhance flowering in locations with dry winters. Roots can extract water from depths greater than 2 m. Diurnal trends in stomatal conductance closely match those of leaf water status. Both variables mirror changes in the saturation deficit of the air. Very little research on crop water requirements has been reported. Crop responses to irrigation are complex. In areas with low rainfall after harvest, a moderate water deficit before floral initiation can increase flowering and yield. In contrast, fruit set and yield can be reduced by a severe water deficit after flowering, and the risk of fruit splitting increased. Water productivity has not been quantified. Supplementary irrigation in South-east Asia is limited by topography and competition for water from the summer rice crop, but irrigation is practised in Israel, South Africa, Australia and some other places. Research is needed to determine the benefits of irrigation in different growing areas. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:Correspondence Address: CARR, M. K. V.; School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, UKemail: mikecarr@cwms.org.uk
Subjects:Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture
Plant culture > Irrigation farming
Live Archive:03 Jul 2014 03:24
Last Modified:11 May 2022 02:20

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