Diameter fluctuations of branches, shoots, or fruits are related to plant transpiration and water potential. In the past, several models have related dendrometric variables and evapotranspi-ration on a daily scale. However, trunk–branch shrinkage occurs only between dawn and midday, while evapotranspiration occurs most of the day from sunrise to sunset. Previous models have failed to incorporate this key fact. The objective of the present study was to assess the relationship of hourly daily shrinkage (HDS) between dawn and the next 4 h to the hourly reference evapotranspiration (EToh) of the same period in walnut trees and pomegranate plants under different irrigation regimes. Our data show that the relationship between EToh and HDS is much better than several previous models that included maximum daily shrinkage (MDS) and reference evapotranspiration (ETo). The novel slope analysis of the relationship between HDS versus time used here corresponds to the velocity at which the HDS occurs, which depends on the ETo intensity at that moment. This new method of analyzing this type of data calls for a revision of these models and sets a new baseline for future analysis.
- Hourly reference evapotranspiration
- Hourly shrinkage
- Irrigation scheduling
- Linear regression analysis
- Tree water relations