Water-Saving Techniques Practiced by Olive Growers in Dry Areas
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During the last two decades, olive production in Syria has expanded to less favorable marginal dry areas, where water is the most important limiting factor. Farmers in these areas have been applying special management practices in order to improve the productivity of their trees. In this paper, we describe some methods used by olive growers in Syria to cope with water scarcity and improve water-use efficiency in their groves. During the winter rainfall season, some farmers construct rainwater-harvesting catchments to increase soil moisture content in the root zone. The application of calcareous soil or stones as mulch under the canopy is another common practice in orchards characterized by red heavy soils that crack in summer. Special attention is given to a “subsurface insert irrigation system”, which reduces surface evaporation during the hot summer months.