University of California

Continuous trunk diameter recording can reveal water stress in peach trees


Elias Fereres
David Goldhamer
Moshe Cohen
Joan Girona
Merce Mata

Authors Affiliations

E. Fereres is Director, IAS-CSIC, and Professor, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain; D. Goldhamer is Cooperative Extension Water Management Specialist, University of California, located at Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier; M. Cohen is Research Scientist, Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentáries (IRTA), Cabrils, Spain; J. Girona is Research Leader and Research Associate, respectively, IRTA, Lleida, Spain; M. Mata is Research Leader and Research Associate, respectively, IRTA, Lleida, Spain.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 53(4):21-25. DOI:10.3733/ca.v053n04p21. July 1999.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


The water status of a peach tree is traditionally monitored by measuring its predawn or midday leaf water potential or midday stem water potential. A study conducted on ‘O'Henry’ peach trees at the Kearney Agricultural Center showed that continuous monitoring of trunk diameter can also be an accurate technique of detecting water stress. The trees were evaluated during 21 days of underirrigation followed by 17 days of full irrigation. Trunk-based measurements were generally more sensitive than discrete measurements to both the onset of water stress and the magnitude of tree water deficits. Parameters based on trunk diameter monitoring correlated well with established physiological parameters of plant water status. These trunk diameter oscillations, which are only available from continuous monitoring, hold promise for improving the precision of irrigation decision making.

Further reading

Huguet JG, Li SH, Lorendeau JY, Pellous G. Specific micromorphometric reactions of fruit trees to water stress and irrigation scheduling automation. J Hort Sci. 1992. 67(5):631-40.

Klepper B, Browning VD, Taylor HM. Stem diameter in relation to plant water status. Plant Physiol. 1971. 48:683-5. PubMed PMID: 16657861

Li SH, Huguet JG, Bussi C. Irrigation scheduling in mature peach orchard using tensiometers and dendrometers. Irrigation and Drainage Systems. 1989. 3:1-12. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01102813

Selles G, Berger A. Physiological indicators of plant water status as criteria for irrigation scheduling. Acta Horticulturae. 1990. 278:87-100.

So HB, Reicosky DC, Taylor HM. Utility of stem diameter changes as predictors of plant canopy water potential. Agron J. 1979. 71:707-13.

Fereres E, Goldhamer D, Cohen M, Girona J, Mata M. 1999. Continuous trunk diameter recording can reveal water stress in peach trees. Hilgardia 53(4):21-25. DOI:10.3733/ca.v053n04p21
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu