State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project Id: 2010TX357B
Title: Impact of Saline Irrigation Water on Citrus Rootstocks in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 15
Focus Categories: Agriculture, Irrigation, Water Quality
Keywords: Citrus, Salinity, Irrigation
Principal Investigators: Simpson, Catherine R; Nelson, Shad D
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 13,251
Abstract: The citrus industry in the Rio Grande Valley experiences periodic droughts. During such times, water restrictions from the Amistad and Falcon Reservoirs can reduce water available for agriculture. Irrigation in this region is primarily surface waters from the Rio Grande where citrus orchards are flood irrigated. Irrigation practices that use less water are being explored and evaluated. Water used to irrigate crops usually contains between 800 and 900 mg L-1 of salt, the equivalent of adding between 2100 and 2400 lbs salt/acre foot. Limiting irrigation in agricultural areas may lead to salt accumulation in the crop rooting depth, especially where low water use systems like drip irrigation is utilized.

Currently, Citrus trees are grafted onto hardy rootstocks in order to ensure tree survival and production. These rootstocks are used to reduce pathogen impacts and enhance their tolerance to thermal, saline and other environmental stressors. It is vital to find saline tolerant citrus rootstocks for soil and environmental conditions in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

This study's objectives are to assess the salinity tolerance of citrus rootstocks using typical soils found in the Rio Grande Valley. We will evaluate irrigation water salinity tolerance levels for these rootstocks during greenhouse trials.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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