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Thomas J. Tworkoski, Michael E. Engle, and Peter T. Kujawski

A polypropylene fabric containing control-release pellets of the herbicide, trifluralin, can be oriented in the soil to regulate the distribution of plant roots. In 1990, trenches were dug near 10-year-old red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and 10-year-old yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) and fabric containing trifluralin control-release pellets and polypropylene fabric alone were installed vertically to redirect root growth. Roots grew alongside trifluralin fabric and fabric alone and did not penetrate either fabric 38 months after installation. Shoot growth of yellow poplar was reduced about 47% each year by the trifluralin fabric treatment compared to control. Red oak shoot growth was not affected by trifluralin fabric. Leaf water potential was not affected by treatment in either species. Trifluralin residues in trifluralin fabric decreased from 23.3% to 22.0% from July 1990 to October 1993. During this time, trifluralin levels increased from 0.4 to 3.6 mg·kg-1 in soil sampled 0 to 15 cm below trifluralin fabric. These results suggest that controlled-release trifluralin will provide persistent inhibition of root and shoot growth of some species and will not migrate significantly in the soil. Chemical names used: α,α,α-trifluoro-2,6-dinitro-N-N-dipropyl-p-toluidine (trifluralin).

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Roger Kjelgren and Craig Spihlman

Limited root development of nursery stock in root-control bags facilitates harvest but without irrigation may predispose stock to water stress. The effect of bags and irrigation on growth and water relations of field-grown Malus sieboldii var. zumi were investigated following transplanting as large liners into a silty-clay soil. Predawn leaf water potential (ψ), and midday stomatal conductance (gs) and ψ, were measured periodically through the season. Late-season osmotic potential (ψπ), caliper, leaf area, and root growth were also measured. Non-irrigated treatments exhibited water stress during an extended mid-summer drought, as predawn ψ and particularly gs were less than irrigated treatments, resulting in lower vegetative growth and ψπ. For combined bagged treatments water relations did not differ, but leaf area, root growth, and ψπ, but not caliper, were less than non-bagged trees. Growth measurements and ψπ of non-irrigated bagged trees, however, were consistently lower but nonsignificant than the other treatments. Bag-induced root reduction can limit some top growth even with optimum soil water. Moreover, in terms of potential Type-II errors extrapolated over a conventional production cycle, trees grown in root-control bags in normally non-irrigated soils may be more susceptible to water stress and subjected to further cumulative growth limitation.

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G. S. Sibbett, D. Goldhamer, S. Southwick, R.C. Phene, J. Yeager, and D. Katayama

Variable lengths of water deprivation immediately prior to harvest were imposed on mature French prune trees for four consecutive years. Irrigation cutoff durations were about 45, 37, 30, 22, 17 and 12 days prior to harvest during 1986-89.

Predawn leaf water potential best reflected water deprivation length and reached minimum values of about -1.5 MPa with the most severe cutoff. Magnitude of peak stomatal conductance was reduced and occurred earlier in the day with longer cutoff regimes.

Rate and time-course development of preharvest fruit drop was variable from year-to-year, but there were no significant differences in total drop between cutoff treatments. Only in the fourth year, following three years of no difference were tree fruit load and yield significantly reduced but then only with the most severe cutoff. Soluble solids were higher and drying ratios lower with the longer cutoffs. Fruit size was significantly reduced in the third year of the experiment. Trunk circumferences were significantly lower only with trees subjected to the longer cutoff regimes.

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Patricia R. Knight, J. Roger Harris, and Jody K. Fanelli

Root severance during field harvesting alters the water status of a tree, resulting in water stress and reduced post-transplant growth. Two experiments, using Acer rubrum L. (red maple), determined the influence of root severance at harvest on sap flow and xylem embolism. Trees 1.5–1.8 m tall (4 years old) were utilized in the first experiment, and trees 1.2–1.5 m tall (2 years old) were utilized in the second. Sap flow sensors were installed on the 4-year-old trees prior to root severance and remained on the trees until 1 week after harvest. Within 1 day after root severance sap flow was reduced and remained lower than nontransplanted (control) trees for the remainder of the experiment. Leaf stomatal conductance (Cs) of transplanted trees 1 week after root severance was lower than that of control trees, but leaf water potentials (ψ) were similar. In the second experiment, sap flow was reduced relative to control trees within 2 h after root severance. Although Cs was reduced 4 hours after root severance, ψ was not. Embolism increased within 24 hours of root severance. These results indicate that root severance quickly induces increased levels of embolism, which is associated with reduced sap flow.

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Madhulika Sagaram and Leonardo Lombardini

Pecan is a riparian species distributed over an area of geographic and climatic variation; such a wide distribution produces exposure to varied environmental conditions, providing a potential for genetic adaptation within the cultivars. Genotypes can be screened in order to obtain more drought tolerant cultivars using indirect screening parameters (chlorophyll fluorescence, osmotic adjustment, and abscisic acid assay) based on physiological responses of plants to abiotic stress conditions. A study was established at Texas A&M University, College Station, using a mixture of fritted clay (Quick dry) and pure sand in 1:1 (by weight) ratio to study the effects of drought on pecan rootstocks. The experiment was set up with the three water potential levels as treatments (–0.033 MPa, –0.1 MPa, –0.3 MPa) in a randomized complete-block design with three blocks. Measurements will include leaf water relations (relative water content, leaf water potential, osmotic adjustments, etc.), gas exchange parameters [net carbon dioxide assimilation rate (A), transpiration rate (E), stomatal conductance (gs)], chlorophyll fluorescence measurements [minimum (Fo), maximum (Fm), and variable fluorescence (Fv), quantum efficiency], water use efficiency, and abscisic acid assay on roots. Statistical analysis systems (SAS) package will be used for analysis. PROC GLM of the SAS will be used for statistical analysis of study involving plant response to water potential levels.

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David Goldhamer, Mario Viveros, and Ken Shackel

Previously well irrigated mature `Nonpareil' almond trees (Prunus dulcis) were subjected to varying periods of water deprivation prior to harvest and then to either full or no postharvest irrigation. Eight preharvest water deprivation (PWD) lengths ranging from 14 to 63 days were evaluated on a sandy loam soil with a rooting depth of about 1.5 m.

Development of tree water deficits occurred rapidly following PWD. Predawn leaf water potential decreased to about -1.8 and -3.1 MPa after 10 and 20 days, respectively. Defoliation began about 30 days after PWD and trees subjected to more than 50 days completely defoliated. The rate of hull split was directly related to the PWD duration. With early cutoffs, the size of the hull split-arrested nuts at harvest was large compared with the same nut type in later cutoffs suggesting that as nuts develop, large nuts are preferential sinks for assimilates. Kernel size was only mildly reduced by PWD during the first study year. There was a trend toward lower total kernel yield with longer PWD as a result of smaller kernel girth but yield differences were not significant. The number of nuts remaining in the tree after shaking was not related to PWD. Bark strength increased after PWD with 10 to 14 days required to prevent shaker damage. Postharvest irrigation resulted in late season defoliation but no rebloom. Bloom density reductions in 1990 were related more to the lack of 1989 postharvest irrigation than to early PWD.

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Rolston St. Hilaire and William R. Graves

Traits associated with drought resistance vary with provenance of hard maples (Acer sp.), but the stability of differences ex situ and over time is unknown. We compared growth, dry-matter partitioning, leaf anatomy, and water relations of seedlings from central Iowa, eastern Iowa, and the northeastern United States over 2 years. Some seedlings from each of the three provenances were used as well-irrigated controls. The remaining seedlings were drought-stressed and irrigated based on evapotranspiration. Across irrigation treatments, plants from Iowa had shorter stems and higher specific weight of lamina, root: shoot dry-weight ratios, and root: lamina dry-weight ratios than did plants from the northeastern United States when treatments began. Biomass partitioning did not differ based on provenance after irrigation treatment for 2 years, but leaves from central Iowa had a higher specific weight, and their abaxial surfaces had more stomates and trichomes, than did leaves from the Northeast. Drought stress reduced conductance only in plants from central Iowa. Across provenances, drought stress reduced stomatal frequency, surface area of laminae, and dry weights of laminae and roots, and increased root: shoot dry-weight ratio. Leaf water potential of plants subjected to drought was lower at predawn and higher at midday than that of control plants. Drought did not cause osmotic adjustment in leaves. We conclude that the stability of foliar differences among provenances of hard maples validates using these traits as criteria for selecting ecotypes for use in managed landscapes prone to drought.

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Agnes A. Flores-Nimedez, Paul H. Li, and Charles C. Shin

GLK-8903, an experimental product whose main ingredient is produced by hydrogenation of a primary alcohol extracted from plants, showed significant potential in protecting bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) plants from chilling injury. The GLK-8903 protection mechanism was assessed by examining several physiological and biochemical responses. The decline in leaf water potential and the increase in osmotic potential caused by chilling exposure to 4C (day/night) were minimized by the application of GLK-8903. Chilling causes an increase in electrolyte leakage, an indication of chilling injury of the plasma membrane. Increased electrolyte leakage was reduced significantly in the GLK-8903-treated plants during chilling. This minimized leakage may be due to less damage of the plasma membrane. Plasmolysis and deplasmolysis studies of the epidermal cells suggest that GLK-8903 is able to reduce the plasma membrane perturbation in the chilling environment, as evident by: 1) the lower permeability coefficient to urea at 4C, and 2) the swelling of protoplasts in the cells of untreated tissues after chilling exposure with no swelling of the protoplast being observed in the GLK-8903-treated cells. Malondialdehyde (MDA), a product of lipid peroxidation, increased more in untreated controls than in treated plants exposed to 4C. Plasma membrane ATPase activity decreased less in GLK-8903-treated plants than in untreated controls after 3 days at 4C. The mechanism of GLK-8903-alleviated chilling injury is discussed.

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Dariusz Swietlik

Sour orange seedlings were grown in water culture to which one of seven aromatic compounds, associated with allelopathic effects, was added to produce concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 mM. Leaf water potential (ψ1), leaf stomatal conductance (gs), and whole plant transpiration (T) were measured during a 7-day treatment period. At the end of that period, the total and average leaf surface area, shoot elongation, and fresh weight gain of seedlings were determined. Solutions of vanillic, coumaric, and ferulic acids of 2mM concentration reduced ψ1, gs, and T. Reductions of gs, and T but not (ψ1) occurred when vanillic acid of 1mM concentration was applied. Solutions of vanillic (0.5; 1.0; 2.0mM), coumaric (1; 2mM), cinnamic (1mM), or chlorogenic (1; 2mM) acids reduced fresh weight gain of seedlings. Only the coumaric and chlorogenic acids treatments of 2mM concentration reduced shoot elongation. No treatment affected total or individual leaf area. Gallic and caffeic acids had no effect on sour orange water relations and growth.

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John M. Nelson, David A. Palzkill, and Paul G. Bartels

Flower bud injury resulting from freezing temperatures has been a major problem in jojoba [Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C. Schneid.] production. A 3-year field study, which began with 4-year-old plants, evaluated the effect of three irrigation treatments on growth, flower bud survival, seed yield, seed weight, and seed wax concentration of six clones. After 3 years, irrigation cut-off dates of late May (dry treatment) and early September (medium treatment) resulted in reduced plant height and width compared to irrigating through November (wet treatment). Flower bud survival and seed yields were very low in the first year for all treatments. In the second and third years, bud survival for most clones, even at -8C, was greatly improved by withholding water in the fall. In December of the second and third years, plants in the medium and dry plots had lower leaf water potential than those in the wet plot. In the second year, plants in the medium and dry plots had seed yields that were 3.5 times higher and wax yields that were were 2.3 times higher than plants in the wet plot. In the third year, the medium treatment had the highest seed and wax yields. Average seed weight and seed wax concentration were generally highest for plants in the wet plot where seed yields were low. Withholding irrigation from jojoba in the fall appears to improve flower bud survival and seed and wax yields following cold winters.