Volume 19 Part 1 Article 83: Development of suitable irrigation regime for a summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) orchard in Israel

Volume 19 Part 1 Article 83
Year 2016
Title: Development of suitable irrigation regime for a summer truffle (Tuber aestivum) orchard in Israel
Author: Ofer Danay, Nirit Ezov, Yoram Luzzati and Dan Levanon

The weather conditions of Israel were thought to be unsuitable for the cultivation of truffles. Nevertheless, part of northern Israel, namely the “Upper Galilee” is mountainous with heights of 700-1000 meters, and at this region weather and calcareous soil are suitable for growing crops like apples and cherries. Therefore we decided to make an attempt to introduce truffle cultivation to this region too. In order to achieve this goal, truffles fruit bodies were imported from Italy and used to inoculate seedlings of local and introduced oaks and hazelnuts and an experimental plot was planted, in kibbutz Bar’am, at the Upper Galilee. Summer truffles (Tuber. aestivum) were collected in this experimental plot, since the spring of 2009 and yields were calculated. The Upper Galilee region, unlike the known truffle cultivation regions in Europe, lacks summer rains. Therefore low soil humidity during the summer, was thought to be the main limitation for appropriate fruit bodies development. Irrigation is used in truffle cultivation regions. Sprinkler irrigation is usually applied if it does not rain for 3 consecutive weeks. An irrigation experiment in Bar’am plot with 4 different watering regimes has proven the need for irrigation. The regimes differed by the daily additional water amounts (1-2mm) and irrigation intervals. A dramatic, eight fold yield increase, was recorded during the first irrigation season, as compared to former years yields. During 2015, 50 kilograms, of about 1600 truffle ascocarps were collected from the1.0 hectare plot. The best irrigation regime was with 2mm daily water addition in 5 days watering interval, until June and 1mm daily water addition, in 13 days watering interval, later until the summer end. Highest monthly truffle yields were collected during the period of May to July. During this period the biggest fruit bodies were collected, highest daily collection score for a working hour and also highest daily yields were recorded. The collected truffles were tested for spore maturation. It was found that from the early spring in to the summer there was an increase in spore maturation. A correlation was found between spores maturation and improvement of the truffles taste, according to organoleptic tests. These results are an encouraging sign that truffles cultivation
could be possible in this region.

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