SOIL WATER DEFICIT EFFECTS ON PLANT WATER RELATIONS AND LEAF GROWTH OF CUCUMBER

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  • 1 Dept. of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Marketmore 80) plants were exposed to a soil water deficit and subsequently rewatered. Maximum stress intensity was -1.5 MPa midday leaf water potential compared to -0.6 to -0.8 MPa in the well watered control, eight days after withholding water. Midday stomatal conductance {ks), leaf turgor potential and water potential decreased in the stress treatment compared to the control beginning at the first sampling, two days after withholding water. The decrease in all three was approximately linear with time over the stress. Decreased leaf elongation was observed at the second sampling, three days after the initial decline in ks and five days after withholding water. At similar relative water content {RWC), osmotic potentials of the stress and control treatments were the same throughout most of the stress. Further, there was no difference in osmotic potential, at the same RWC, between the stress and control treatments 12 - 16 hours after rewatering. Split-root experiments were also conducted to examine a possible role of a non-hydraulic signal from roots in drying soil in the regulation of ks and leaf elongation in cucumber. No conclusive evidence of a signal was found despite significant decreases in soil water potential of one-half of the root system of the stress plants. However, fluctuating vapor pressure gradients (vpg) may have obscured evidence of a signal.

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