Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Modelling the seasonal dynamics of the soil water balance of vineyards

Eric Lebon, Vincent Dumas, Philippe Pieri and Hans R. Schultz

Functional Plant Biology 30(6) 699 - 710
Published: 25 June 2003


A geometrical canopy model describing radiation absorption (Riou et al. 1989, Agronomie 9, 441–450) and partitioning between grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) and soil was coupled to a soil water balance routine describing a bilinear change in relative transpiration rate as a function of the fraction of soil transpirable water (FTSW). The model was amended to account for changes in soil evaporation after precipitation events and subsequent dry-down of the top soil layer. It was tested on two experimental vineyards in the Alsace region, France, varying in soil type, water-holding capacity and rooting depth. Simulations were run over four seasons (1992–1993, 1995–1996) and compared with measurements of FTSW conducted with a neutron probe. For three out of four years, the model simulated the dynamics in seasonal soil water balance adequately. For the 1996 season soil water content was overestimated for one vineyard and underestimated for the other. Sensitivity analyses revealed that the model responded strongly to changes in canopy parameters, and that soil evaporation was particularly sensitive to water storage of the top soil layer after rainfall. We found a close relationship between field-average soil water storage and pre-dawn water potential, a relationship which could be used to couple physiological models of growth and / or photosynthesis to the soil water dynamics.

Keywords: model, soil evaporation, soil water balance, vine transpiration, Vitis vinifera L., water deficit.

© CSIRO 2003

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