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Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (3): 446-460    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0129-z
Effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency in jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, China
Shanshan JIN1, Youke WANG1,2,*(), Xing WANG2, Yonghong BAI3, Leigang SHI4
1College of Water Resources and Architectural Engineering, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
2Research Center of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences & Ministry of Education, Yangling 712100, China;
3College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
4Beijing Research Center of Information Technology in Agriculture, Beijing 100097, China
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Jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) is a traditional economic forest crop and is widely cultivated in hilly areas of the Loess Plateau, China. However, soil desiccation was discovered in jujube plantations.Pruning is recognized as a water-saving method that can reduces soil water consumption. In this study, we monitored the jujube plots with control (CK), light (C1), medium (C2) and high (C3) pruning intensities during the jujube growing periodof 2012-2015 to explore the effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency (WUE)of jujube plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region. The results showed that pruning is an effective method for soil water conservation in jujube plantations. Soil moisture increased with increasing pruning intensity during the jujube growing period of 2012-2015. C1, C2 and C3pruning intensities increased soil water storage by 6.1-18.3, 14.4-40.0 and 24.3-63.3 mm, respectively, compared to CK pruning intensity. Pruning promoted soil moistureinfiltration to deeper soil layer. Soil moistureinfiltrated to soil depths of 240, 280 and >300 cm under C3pruning intensity, 220, 260 and 260 cm under C2 pruning intensity, 200, 240 and 220 cm under C1 pruning intensity, and 180, 200 and 160 cm under CK pruning intensity in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Soil water deficit was alleviated by higher pruning intensity. In 2013-2015, soil water change was positive under C2 (6.4 mm) and C3 (26.8 mm) pruning intensities but negative under C1 (-20.5 mm) and CK (-40.6 mm) pruning intensities. Moreover, pruning significantly improved fresh fruit yield and WUE of jujube plants. Fresh fruit yields were highest under C1pruning intensity with the values of 6897.1-13,059.3 kg/hm2, which were 2758.4-4712.8, 385.7-1432.1 and 802.8-2331.5kg/hm2 higher than thoseunder CK, C2, and C3pruning intensities during the jujube growing period of2012-2015, respectively. However, C3pruning intensity had the highest WUE values of 2.92-3.13 kg/m3, which were 1.6-2.0, 1.1-1.2 and 1.0-1.1 times greater than those under CK, C1 and C2 pruning intensities, respectively. Therefore, C3pruningintensity is recommended to jujube plantations for its economic and ecological benefits. These results provide an alternative strategy to mitigate soil desiccation in jujube plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, which is critical for sustainable cultivation of economic forest trees in this region.

Key wordspruning intensity      soil desiccation      yield      water use efficiency      Ziziphus jujubeMill.      Loess Plateau     
Received: 24 May 2018      Published: 10 June 2019
Corresponding Authors: Youke WANG     E-mail:
About author:

The second and third authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Shanshan JIN, Youke WANG, Xing WANG, Yonghong BAI, Leigang SHI. Effect of pruning intensity on soil moisture and water use efficiency in jujube (Ziziphus jujube Mill.) plantations in the hilly Loess Plateau Region, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 446-460.

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