Water extraction and implications on soil moisture sensor placement in the root zone of banana
ABSTRACT: The knowledge on spatial and temporal variations of soil water storage in the root zone of crops is essential to guide the studies to determine soil water balance, verify the effective zone of water extraction in the soil and indicate the correct region for the management of water, fertilizers and pesticides. The objectives of this study were: (i) to indicate the zones of highest root activity for banana in different development stages; (ii) to determine, inside the zone of highest root activity, the adequate position for the installation of soil moisture sensors. A 5.0 m3 drainage lysimeter was installed in the center of an experimental area of 320 m2. Water extraction was quantified inside the lysimeter using a 72 TDR probe. The concept of time stability was applied to indicate the position for sensor installation within the limits of effective water extraction. There are two patterns of water extraction distribution during the development of banana and the point of installation of sensors for irrigation management inside the zone of highest root activity is not constant along the crop development.