Aims: An experiment was set up to evaluate the visual assessment of « shoot tip stage » as a method to estimate the water status of vineyards and its utility in vineyard management. The specific objectives were (1) determining the functional relationship of shoot tip stage (S) with leaf water potential (Ψl) at solar noon, a more traditional method for evaluating vine water stress, and (2) testing its performance and simplicity in field conditions.
Materials and results: A field study was first conducted in 2009 in a vineyard located in the La Rioja wine producing region (Spain). Ψl and S measurements were performed at four different phenological stages and the data were collected in a completely randomized design. The relationship between the two parameters was established by multiple linear regression analyses and was validated with data collected in another vineyard during the next year.
Conclusion: The calculated shoot tip stage can be used reliably to estimate vineyard water status and to manage vineyard irrigation.
Significance and impact of the study: The shoot tip method is fast and non-destructive, it does not require any special skill or equipment, it is independent of weather conditions, and the calculations are simple.
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