Information about olive-tree irrigation in sub-humid climates, as in Uruguay, is scarce. Water consumption of young olive trees, Arbequina variety, was measured for two years with six drainage lysimeters, protected from rain by an automatic rain-out shelter. Irrigation water volume and drainage of each lysimeter were measured daily and soil moisture was registered twice a week with neutron probe at four depths. Evapotranspiration (ETc) was calculated by volume balance. Data periods when available water descended below 50% or increased over 100% were eliminated, as those in which the stem water potential was below -1.5 MPa. Water consumption values were averaged within 7- to 14-day periods, expressed in mm·d-1, and referred to a 2.5 × 5.5 m plantation framework without vegetation cover. There was a positive linear relation of the summer crop coefficient (Kc mid) with age, canopy cover percentage and canopy volume. Canopy cover percentage was the parameter which explained most of the variation of Kc mid, which ranged between 0.13 and 0.24, with 5% and 46% canopy cover, respectively. Full irrigation, associated to a good drainage resulted in a rapid growth of the young plants, bringing forward the start of full production period. This represents useful information for the adjustment of irrigation in olive-tree orchards, to accelerate growth with a rational and sustainable use of both water and energy in Uruguay.
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