The effects and interactions of water stress and nutrient solution on water relations and concentrations of amino acids, organic acids and sugars in xylem fluid of `Methley' plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) and `Carolina Beauty' crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.) during midday were determined. Container-grown plants were irrigated with water or nutrient solution (i.e., osmolarity = 138 mm) for 15 days, then irrigation was either continued or terminated for the next 5 days. The experiments were analyzed as factorial designs for each species separately, with the nutrient solution and irrigation status the last 5 days as the main factors. Xylem fluid tension increased ≈ 2- to 3-fold and leaf conductance to water vapor and transpiration were reduced ≈ 10-fold by withholding irrigation for both species; plant water relations of L. indica were also influenced by the nutrient solution. For both species, the osmolarity of xylem fluid was not altered by withholding irrigation. The predominant organic compounds quantified in both species were amides (i.e., glutamine and asparagine), arginine, and citric and malic acids. Sugars represented a small proportion (i.e., generally ≤ 1%) of total osmolarity. Irrigation altered the chemical profile of amino acids and organic acids to a greater degree than the nutrient solution. Water stress induced a 3-fold increase in total organic acids in xylem fluid of both species. The osmolarity and the concentration of most organic compounds in xylem fluid of P. salicina were not significantly affected by the nutrient solution. Arginine increased markedly in concentration by withholding irrigation or with the application of nutrient solution for L. indica. The concentration of most organic compounds did not vary greatly in response to variations in soil water or nutrient status. In conclusion, soil water-or nutrient-mediated changes in plant water relations exceeded changes in xylem fluid chemistry.
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