The effect of saline irrigation on selected soil properties, plant physiology and vegetative reproductive growth of Palsteyn appricots (Prunus armeniaca L.)

Volschenk, Theresa (2005-12)

Thesis (PhD (Soil Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


Approximately 45% of apricot tree plantings in South Africa are centered on Montagu, Koo and Barrydale in the Little Karoo. Below average production in this area could be ascribed to the deteriorating water quality of the Breede River and highly saline groundwater from boreholes which provide this area with irrigation water. Profit margins for farmers are such that decreased yields cannot be tolerated. Correct management of low quality water could improve production and net farm income and could decrease irrigation return flow into the river system. The objective of this work was to establish whether international water quality guidelines for apricot are applicable under a different set of climatic conditions for a locally important cultivar and to revise guidelines if necessary for the management of irrigation with saline water. A drainage lysimeter was used to evaluate the effect of saline irrigation on apricot (Prunus armeniaca cultivar Palsteyn) trees over a period of four years at Stellenbosch (S33° 55’; E18° 53’) in the Western Cape.

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