Potential of UAS-based remote sensing for estimating tree water status and yield in sweet cherry trees

  • Víctor Blanco /
  • Pedro José Blaya-Ros /
  • Cristina Castillo /
  • Fulgencio Soto-Vallés /
  • Roque Torres-Sánchez /
  • Rafael Domingo
Journal ar
Remote Sensing
  • Volumen: 12
  • Número: 15
  • Fecha: 01 August 2020
  • ISSN: 20724292
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/RS12152359
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2020 by the authors.The present work aims to assess the usefulness of five vegetation indices (VI) derived from multispectral UAS imagery to capture the effects of deficit irrigation on the canopy structure of sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) in southeastern Spain. Three irrigation treatments were assayed, a control treatment and two regulated deficit irrigation treatments. Four airborne flights were carried out during two consecutive seasons; to compare the results of the remote sensing VI, the conventional and continuous water status indicators commonly used to manage sweet cherry tree irrigation were measured, including midday stem water potential (¿s) and maximum daily shrinkage (MDS). Simple regression between individual VIs and ¿s or MDS found stronger relationships in postharvest than in preharvest. Thus, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), resulted in the strongest relationship with ¿s (r2 = 0.67) and MDS (r2 = 0.45), followed by the normalized difference red edge (NDRE). The sensitivity analysis identified the optimal soil adjusted vegetation index (OSAVI) as the VI with the highest coefficient of variation in postharvest and the difference vegetation index (DVI) in preharvest. A new index is proposed, the transformed red range vegetation index (TRRVI), which was the only VI able to statistically identify a slight water deficit applied in preharvest. The combination of the VIs studied was used in two machine learning models, decision tree and artificial neural networks, to estimate the extra labor needed for harvesting and the sweet cherry yield.

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