Response of Grafted and Non-grafted Melon Plants to High Boron and Salinity Levels

in HortScience

Excess of boron and salinity in soil and irrigation water can limit the production of melons (Cucumis melo). A greenhouse study was conducted in order to compare the responses of grafted and non-grafted melon plants to combinations of high levels of boron and salinity. Boron levels were 0.25, 0.8, 2.5, 5.0, 10.0 mg·L-1 and salinity levels were 1.8 and 4.6 dS·m-1. Foliar injury caused by boron was more severe in the non-grafted than in the grafted plants. Likewise, boron accumulation in leaf tissue from non-grafted plants was higher than in grafted plants. High salinity led to decreased boron accumulation in the leaves. Fruit yield was decreased only at a boron concentration of 10 mg·L-1, and the decrease in grafted plants was smaller than that in non-grafted plants. A negative correlation was found between boron accumulation in leaves and fruit yield. The results showed that melon plants grafted on Cucurbita rootstock are more tolerant than non-grafted ones to high boron concentrations, and this can probably be explained by the decrease in boron accumulation caused by the rootstock.

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