COMPARISON OF THE EFFECT OF PRUNING AND CHEMICAL GROWTH REGULATION ON THE WATER RELATIONS OF HIBISCUS

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  • 1 Department of Agricultural Engineering and Horti–cultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843

Growth of potted hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Ross Estey) plants was controlled by either pruning or the growth regulator, uniconazole, at 3.0 mg a.i. per pot. Five days after treatment with uniconazole, plants showed reduced water use, an effect which became more pronounced with time. Water use of pruned plants was reduced immediately after pruning, but soon returned to the level of the control due to the rapid regeneration of leaf area. Chemically treated and pruned plants, respectively, used 33% and 6% leas water than the control. The reduction in water use due to the use of uniconazole had both a morphological and physiological component. Chemically treated plants had a smaller leaf area, and individual leaves had a lower stomatal density, conductance and transpiration rate than leaves of control plants. Under well watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of control or pruned plants was 120-160 g h-1 m-2, nearly three times higher than the 40-60 g h-1 m-2 measured in plants treated with uniconazole.

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