DETECTING PEACH WATER STRESS THROUGH CHANGES IN FOLIAGE TEMPERATURE

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  • 1 Department of Plant and Soil Science, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901

The response of foliage-air temperature differential (Tl-Ta) to vapor-pressure deficit (VPD) as a means of detecting incipient water stress was investigated in the Illinois planting of the NC-140 Uniform Peach Rootstock Trial. Stomatal conductance, foliage temperature, leaf water potential, air temperature and VPD were followed diurnally on three dates in 1989 for mature `Redhaven' on six different rootstock. On two of three sampling dates where predawn leaf water potential was greater than -0.5 MPa there was no indication of midday stomatal closure and all rootstock exhibited an inverse relationship between T1-Ta and VPD. On the date with the most negative predawn leaf water potential, T1-Ta of two plum rootstock (GF-677 and GF-655-2) was observed to be significantly greater at VPD levels above 2 kPa than the remaining rootstock. All rootstock on this date exhibited greater T1-Ta than at similar VPD levels on the other two dates. These data suggest that transpirational cooling plays a large enough role in foliage temperature regulation of `Redhaven' peach such that incipient water stress and rootstock effects on water relations can be detected through increases in foliage temperature.

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