336 Seasonal Effects on Growth of Olneya tesota following Root Pruning

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  • 1 Department of Plant Biology, Arizona State University, PO Box 871601, Tempe, AZ 85287-1601

Seedlings of Olneya tesota A. Gray (desert ironwood) were grown in 12-L containers filled with a peatmoss and pumice substrate (1:1 v/v) for 3 months under simulated summer or winter Sonoran Desert conditions in a walk-in growth chamber. Growth room irradiance (550 mmol•m-2•s-1) was provided with an even mixture of mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium high-intensity discharge lamps. Growth room air temperature and relative humidity were ramped hourly to approximate typical summer or winter weather conditions based on mean seasonal climatological data for Phoenix, Ariz. For simulated summer conditions, maximum/minimum air temperature range was 40/28 °C and maximum/minimum relative humidity range was 25%/12%. Photoperiod was 16 h. For simulated winter conditions, maximum/minimum air temperature and relative humidity were 20/5 °C and 80%/35%, respectively. Photoperiod was 10 h. After 2 months, desert ironwood root systems were cleaned of substrate by floatation in a water bath, pruned to a length of 15 cm, repotted, and then grown for an additional month under the same conditions. Only 41% of desert ironwood survived root pruning under summer conditions compared with a 100% survival rate under winter conditions. For surviving desert ironwood, shoot and root extension growth was significantly greater under summer conditions.

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