HIGH ROOT-ZONE TEMPERATURE EFFECTS ON DIURNAL WATER USE OF WOODY ORNAMENTAL

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

Root-zone temperature fluctuations and sap flow rates were characterized for several woody ornamental plants in a controlled environment using a water bath to control temperatures. Flow rates of sap in the xylem were measured every 15 seconds and averaged over 15 minute intervals. Sap flow measurements were correlated to root-zone temperatures recorded during the same time intervals. Whole plant transpiration was measured gravimetrically. Root-zone temperatures were raised from 22°C to 45°C (slightly below lethality between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon, held at that temperature until 4:00 pm, and then allowed to cool. There was a pronounced diurnal change in flow rate with peak flow during mid-morning declining in mid-afternoon. The decline in the rate of sap flow occurred at a faster rate than the decline in root-zone temperature. This diurnal flow rate was most pronounced during the first 24-hour elevated temperature cycle. Plants maintained at a constant temperature of 22°C showed no such extreme fluctuations in sap flow rate. Stomatal conductance measured with a porometer showed similar trends to whole plant transpiration.

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