Feasibility of low-cost thermal imaging for monitoring water stress in young and mature sweet cherry trees

  • Pedro José Blaya-Ros /
  • Víctor Blanco /
  • Rafael Domingo /
  • Fulgencio Soto-Valles /
  • Roque Torres-Sánchez
Journal ar
Applied Sciences (Switzerland)
  • Volumen: 10
  • Número: 16
  • Fecha: 01 July 2020
  • ISSN: 20763417
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/APP10165461
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2020 by the authors.Infrared thermography has been introduced as an affordable tool for plant water status monitoring, especially in regions where water availability is the main limiting factor in agricultural production. This paper outlines the potential applications of low-cost thermal imaging devices to evaluate the water status of young and mature sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) submitted to water stress. Two treatments per plot were assayed: (i) a control treatment irrigated to ensure non-limiting soil water conditions; and (ii) a water-stress treatment. The seasonal evolution of the temperature of the canopy (Tc) and the difference between Tc and air temperature (DT) were compared and three thermal indices were calculated: crop water stress index (CWSI), degrees above control treatment (DAC) and degrees above non-water-stressed baseline (DANS). Midday stem water potential (¿stem) was used as the reference indicator of water stress and linear relationships of Tc, DT, CWSI, DAC and DANS with Ystem were discussed in order to assess their sensitivity to quantify water stress. CWSI and DANS exhibited strong relationships with Ystem and two regression lines to young and mature trees were found. The promising results obtained highlight that using low-cost infrared thermal devices can be used to determine the plant water status in sweet cherry trees.

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