Response of Seed Carrot to Various Water Regimes. I. Vegetative Growth and Plant Water Relations

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Water Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Fresno, CA 93727
  • | 2 National Forage Seed Production Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 3450 SW Campus Way, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331
  • | 3 Water Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Fresno, CA 93727
  • | 4 Institute of Soils and Water, Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel
  • | 5 Water Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Fresno, CA 93727

The influence of irrigation frequency and the severity and rate of development of soil water deficits on the vegetative growth and water status of carrots (Daucus carota L. var. sativa DC.) grown for seed were investigated in a fine sandy loam soil. Beginning with the period of rapid development of primary umbels, various irrigation frequencies [daily vs. intervals corresponding to 30 mm of accumulated crop evapotranspiration (ETc)] were investigated at irrigation rates ranging from 40% to 120% of estimated ETC. The magnitude and rate of development of soil water deficits markedly influenced carrot responses to developing water deficits. Stomata] conductance and leaf water potential (LWP) measurements exhibited some potential for use in irrigation scheduling and were the most sensitive and consistent indicators of plant water status. Under low-frequency continuous-deficit irrigation, a combination of moderate reductions in stomatal conductance and major reductions in peak leaf area and late-season maintenance of viable leaf area occurred. These responses were effective water-conserving mechanisms, allowing growth at a reduced rate and continued development of viable seed. In contrast, rapid development of soil water deficits resulted in nearly complete stomatal closure, cessation of growth, and rapid reductions in leaf area.

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