ABA, Hydraulics, and Gas Exchange of Split-rooted Apple Trees

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  • 1 1Colorado State University, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, 111 Shepardson Building, Fort Collins, CO, 80523
  • | 2 2Hort Research, Environmental and Risk Assessment Group, Private Bag 11030, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Approach-grafted 1-year-old `Gala'/M7 apple trees were grown with both tops for the remainder of the 2003 season in a greenhouse. Trees were supplied with >100% (control, PRD100) or 50% (PRD50, DI50) of daily ETc either applied to one root compartment only (PRD100, PRD50) or divided evenly across both root compartments (control and DI50). ETc was estimated from gravimetric measurements, and irrigation was switched between wet and dry root compartments several times throughout the experiment. Soil moisture was measured both gravimetrically (tripod) and volumetrically (time-domain reflectometry). Predawn leaf water potential (υpd) and single leaf gas exchange (photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and transpiration) were recorded daily, and sap flow in stems and roots was monitored continuously using the heat-pulse technique. Leaves were collected for abscisic acid (ABA) determination following gas exchange measurements. Regardless of irrigation placement (i.e., PRD or DI), both 50% ETc treatments experienced similar declines in υpd and single leaf gas exchange relative to control levels. In addition, ABA concentrations were similar for PRD50 and DI50, and were significantly higher than the control and PRD100 treatments. PRD100 trees had similar υpd as control trees; however, gas exchange was reduced >25% compared to the control. Bulk leaf ABA concentration did not differ significantly from control levels and does not by itself explain the down regulation of stomata with PRD100.

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