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The Wyler Department of Dryland Agriculture, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, J.Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus 84990, Israel The Wyler Department of Dryland Agriculture, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, J.Finally, the sensors indicated reduction in flow almost immediately after irrigation of field-grown trees was withheld, at a time when no climatic or phenological conditions could have led to reduction in transpiration.Being a monocot species, the vascular system arrangement in the stem of date palm trees differs significantly from that of the majority of commercially grown dicotyledonous fruit trees.A long and tough sensor was constructed to withstand insertion into the date palm's hard exterior stem.This stem is wide and fibrous, surrounded by an even tougher external non-conducting layer of dead leaf bases.The diameters of the vascular bundles vary between 1 and 3 mm, depending on their location within the stem (Parthasarathy and Klotz 1976, Tomlinson 1990).

Therefore, it is highly important to investigate the variations of the sap flux densities and determine the preferable location for sap flow sensing within the stem.Sap flow measurements are widely used in agricultural research.Common sap flow measurement methods include the heat pulse, the heat dissipation and the heat balance methods (Swanson 1994).However, the increased abundance of vascular bundles in the outer parts of the stem does not necessarily suggest increased water movement, since the latter is dependent on the direction of the vessels (i.e., towards the crown of the tree or sideways to the leaves), bundle diameter and the ratio between protoxylem and metaxylem.Finally, as water flow takes place within the same vessels throughout the life span of the plant, while its hydraulic structure and properties vary little, the date palm tree is an attractive candidate for adequate and representative long-term sap flow measurements.

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