Growth of Honey Locust Seedlings during High Root-zone Temperature and Osmotic Stress

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-5611

Growth of honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Willd.) seedlings was studied during exposure to reduced osmotic potential (ψπ) and high temperature in the root zone. Half-sib plants were cultured in solution. Root-zone temperature was increased from ambient (23C) to 35C for 0, 6, 12, or 24 hours·day -l. Within each temperature treatment, solution ψπ of -0.05, – 0.10, and – 0.20 MPa were maintained by additions of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 8000. Root and shoot dry weights decreased with increasing exposure to 35C among seedlings in -0.05-MPa solution and decreased for seedlings in - 0.10- and - 0.20-MPa solutions in all temperature regimes. Growth of epicotyls displayed similar trends, but epicotyls of plants in -0.20-MPa solution were longest with 6 hours·day-l at 35C. Significant interactions between effects of temperature and osmotic regimes indicated that water-stressed honey locust seedlings are relatively insensitive to elevated root-zone temperatures. However, related studies showed that PEG caused reductions in growth that could not be explained by decreases in ψπ and suggested that responses of honey locust to PEG differed from those when drought was imposed by withholding irrigation in an aggregate medium.

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