[Effects of different water-saving irrigation modes on chestnut growth and fruiting in drought hilly land].
ABSTRACT Taking the chestnut trees in a semi-arid and semi-humid hilly orchard of Tai' an, Shandong Province of East China as test objects, a field experiment was conducted to study the effects of different water-saving irrigation modes (pottery jar storing water, small hole storing water, and border irrigation with covering) on the soil moisture characteristics and the growth, fruiting, and development of chestnut roots. Comparing with the control (border irrigation), all the three water-saving irrigation modes could prolong the period of soil keeping moist, and the best effect came from pottery, jar treatment, with the soil keeping moist for 32 days, 13 days longer than the control. Under water-saving irrigations, the bearing branches length and number, leaf area and mass, and shoot mixed buds all increased obviously. Both pottery jar storing water and small hole storing water could irrigate deeper roots and induce root growth in deeper soil layers, and thus, relieve the drought stress on superficial roots. The three water-saving irrigation modes could increase chestnut yield markedly, with an increment of 18.8%, 16.5%, and 14.2%, respectively, as compared with the control.