RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GRAVIMETRIC WATER LOSS MEASUREMENTS AND PLANT WATER STRESS RESPONSES

in HortScience

Previous work has shown that container grown landscape plants use, and likely need, much less water than is typically applied. Therefore, studies were conducted to quantify the relationships between water loss and water stress responses using several drought tolerant (Cassia corymbosa, Leucophyllum frutescens, Salvia greggii) and traditional landscape plants (Euonymus japonicus, Pyracantha coccinea). Water stress was induced by withholding water and water loss measured gravimetrically. The shape of the water loss curve was similar for all species being, Y = a + bx + cx2 (r2 > 0.95). The rate of ethylene production began to increase 24 hr after irrigation, reaching a maximum 36-48 hr after irrigation and then decreasing. Maximum ethylene production occured at 35-47% water loss irrespective of species or rate of water loss. Stress symptoms (wilting leaf discoloration and abscission) followed a similar pattern. The potential for monitoring gravimetric water loss to schedule container irrigation will be discussed.

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