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In the cultivation of tree crops, water is a critical input factor and irrigation is necessary in all European countries. As a matter of fact, input requirements in an orchard vary in space and time due to the variability of climate, soil and plant growth.

Spatial patterns of soil and plant properties can be regarded as a 3D-Mosaic. Thus, an optimum orchard management has to address seasonal and spatial variability in soil and micro-climate that affect plant growth and fruit development. However, irrigation today is commonly managed at the orchard level and not at the tree level. Uniform irrigation frequently creates sub-optimum conditions with some parts of the orchard having insufficient water while other parts suffer from water logging and subsequent oxygen shortage. Consequently, water is wasted and/or yield and fruit quality are reduced. Tree-scale leaf area index and fruit load and individual fruit-scale size, water content, and maturity-related pigmentation represent information vital for orchard management resp. irrigation decision making. Until now, these parameters have been underutilized due to lack of automation of their monitoring.
The target of 3D-Mosaic is to promote precision management of orchards by means of a decision support system (DSS) aiming to optimize efficiency of inputs including water and to diminish the environmental footprint of fruit production. The DSS will apply information and communication technologies (ICT) for precision management of the most economically relevant tree crops, apple and citrus.

For this purpose, sensors, monitoring strategies, information processing and decision support systems will be developed. Together, these will produce maps for orchard management including irrigation.

Contract period:

2011 - 2013

Total budget:


Coordinating Institution:

Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim e.V. (ATB) Details of ATB

Work package leader:



Vision system

Fruit information

Field tests

GIS System

Decision support system