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Thomas E. Marler and Yasmina Zozor

Leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, water relations, and mineral nutrient relations responses of Annona squamosa seedlings to mild salinity were studied in sand culture in five experiments during 1990, 1991, and 1993. Trees were irrigated with a complete nutrient solution (control) or with this solution amended to 3 or 6 dS·m-1 with sea salt. Inhibition of net CO2 assimilation, stomatal conductance of CO2, and transpiration was apparent within 2 weeks of initiating salinity treatments, and gas exchange continued to decline until day 30 to 35. The diurnal pattern of leaf gas exchange was not altered by increased salinity. Salinity reduced CO2, light energy, and water-use efficiencies. Salinity sometimes reduced the ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence below that of the control, and this response was highly dependent on the ambient light conditions that preceded the measurements. Dark respiration was unaffected by salinity stress. Root zone salinity of 3 dS·m-1 administered for 52 days did not influence foliar sodium concentration or the ratio of sodium to potassium, but increased chloride concentration and decreased nitrogen concentration. The sodium response indicated that some form of exclusion or compartmentation occurred. Salinity reduced osmotic potential of root tissue but did not influence foliar osmotic or predawn xylem potential. These results indicate that A. squamosa is sensitive to salinity stress, and that the responses to salinity are consistent with other salt-sensitive woody perennial species.

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Hui-lian Xu, Laurent Gauthier, and André Gosselin

Tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Capello) were grown in peat bags, rockwool slabs, and NFT in a greenhouse to examine the effects of nutrient solution electrical conductivity (EC) and potential evapotranspiration (PET)-dependent EC variation on plant water relations. Peat bags were irrigated by a PET-dependent irrigation system. EC was varied from 1 to 4 mS·cm-1 according to PET under –5 and –9 kPa of substrate water potential setpoints (SWPS). The plants in rockwool and NFT were treated with ECs of 2.5, 4, and 5.5 mS·cm-1. Peat bags and rockwool slabs were overwatered once a week to wash out the accumulated salts. Leaf water potential (ψ1) and relative water content (θ) were measured before and after plants were overwatered. Turgor (P) and osmotic π potentials were estimated from the pressure-volume method. Before plants were overwatered, ψ1 was significantly lower in the plants with high EC and low SWPS treatments and also lower in variable EC-treated plants, but P maintained close to the control value. After plants were overwatered, ψ1 recovered close to the control level and P became higher because of the lower π in the treatments of high EC, variable EC, and/or low SWPS. At a given ψ1 the plants with high EC, variable EC, and/or low SWPS maintained higher θ. The analysis of the pressure-volume curve showed that the leaves treated with high EC, variable EC, and/or low SWPS had higher turgid water content, higher symplasmic (osmotically active) water content, lower apoplasmic (osmotically inactive) water content, and lower θ point of zero turgor (incipient plasmolysis). Maintenance of P after overwatering was directly proportional to photosynthetic capacity. We suggest that osmotic adjustment occurs in response to high EC, low SWPS, or both and that overwatering substrates and varying EC can not only avoid salinity stress, but also improve turgor maintenance.

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William R. Graves and Sarah J. Gardner

Alnus maritima [Marsh.] Nutt. (seaside alder) is a rare species that occurs naturally only on soils that are frequently or constantly saturated with fresh water. The objective of our first experiment was to determine effects of drought and flooding treatments of differing severity on foliar gas exchange, water relations, and development of plants grown in containers in a greenhouse. In a second experiment we examined how the rate of water loss from soil during drought episodes affected the gas exchange and survival of leaves. In the first experiment, changes in soil moisture content, which ranged from saturation to 10% or less by volume across treatments, were associated with altered stem water potential and net photosynthesis. Analysis of the osmolarity of liquid extracted from leaves indicated that osmotic adjustment did not occur in response to drought. Shoot dry weight per plant ranged from over 7 g (only the lower portion of the soil profile kept saturated) to less than 3 g (entire soil profile constantly saturated). Episodes of drought of different severity led to plants with shoots that weighed between these two extremes, and exposure to soils with 10% water or less by volume did not elicit leaf desiccation or abscission. Results of the second experiment suggest that leaf desiccation can result from exposing plants to 10% water or less by volume if the drought develops rapidly in a small volume of soil. We conclude that, despite the niche it occupies in nature, seaside alder may have the potential to be used in managed landscapes with soils that vary in moisture content.

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James A. Zwack, William R. Graves, and Alden M. Townsend

Little is known about drought stress resistance of Freeman maples (Acer ×freemanii E. Murray), which are hybrids of red maples (A. rubrum L.) and silver maples (A. saccharinum L.). The objective of our study was to measure plant growth and leaf water relations of `D.T.R. 102' (Autumn Fantasy), `Celzam' (Celebration), and `Marmo' Freeman maples subjected to drought. Plants grown from rooted cuttings were subjected to four consecutive cycles of water deficit followed by irrigation to container capacity. Average stomatal conductance at container capacity for all cultivars was 255 mmol·s-1·m-2 in the first drought cycle and 43 mmol·s-1·m-2 during the fourth drought cycle. Predawn and midmorning leaf water potentials of droughted plants at the end of the fourth drought cycle were 1.16 and 0.82 MPa more negative than respective values for control plants. Osmotic potential of leaves at full turgor was -1.05 MPa for controls and -1.29 MPa for droughted plants, indicating an osmotic adjustment of 0.24 MPa. Root and shoot dry mass and leaf area were reduced similarly by drought for all cultivars, while Celebration exhibited the least stem elongation. `Marmo' treated with drought had the lowest root-to-shoot ratio and the greatest ratio of leaf surface area to root dry mass. Autumn Fantasy had the lowest ratio of leaf area to stem xylem diameter. Specific leaf mass of drought-stressed Autumn Fantasy was 1.89 mg·cm-2 greater than that of corresponding controls, whereas specific masses of Celebration and `Marmo' leaves were not affected by drought. Leaf thickness was similar among cultivars, but leaves of droughted plants were 9.6 μm thicker than leaves of controls. This initial characterization of responses to drought illustrates variation among Freeman maples and suggests that breeding and selection programs might produce superior genotypes for water-deficient sites in the landscape.

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Rémy E. Milad and Kenneth A. Shackel

Irrigation of previously water-stressed French prune trees is known to induce fruit end cracking. The relationships between end cracking, water relations, and mechanical properties of the skin of French prune were studied as a function of irrigation regimes under field conditions. Water stress resulted in the accumulation of solutes in the fruit of nonirrigated trees. A gradient in osmotic potential (ΨS) existed along the vertical axis of fruit from all treatments; ΨS was always lower at the stylar than stem end. Irrigation of previously water-stressed trees (irrigated-dry treatment) resulted in ΨS gradients exceeding those of all other treatments. Moreover, estimated turgor (ΨP) at the stylar end of the fruit increased 2-fold within 24 hours after irrigation. These changes were accompanied by the onset of fruit end cracking, and neither the well-watered controls nor the continuously droughted fruit exhibited such changes. During the 24 hours following irrigation, the overall ΨS of irrigated-dry treatment fruit was diluted by the same amount as the calculated increase in fruit volume. However, during the same period, ΨS at the stem end of the fruit showed more dilution than expected, and ΨS at the stylar end of the fruit concentrated, indicating a redistribution of solutes. There were no differences in skin mechanical properties along the fruit vertical axis and, hence, this could not have accounted for the observed changes in ΨS and ΨP. Thus, when previously stressed French prune trees were irrigated, the overall recovery in water potential (Ψ) and the subsequent movement of solutes to the stylar end of the fruit resulted in apparently excessive turgors in this region and hence the observed pattern of end cracking.

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María José Gómez-Bellot, Pedro Antonio Nortes, María Fernanda Ortuño, María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco, Karoline Santos Gonçalves, and Sebastián Bañón

plants are also subject to the daily changes in environmental factors such as atmospheric temperature, light, or humidity. From this point of view, the study of the daily patterns of leaf water relations and gas exchange activity is a good physiological

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Baolin Zhang and Douglas D. Archbold

Plants of F. chiloensis cv. BSP14 (FC) and F. virginiana cv. NCC85-13V (FV) were stressed until wilting, then watered for 2 days prior to measurement. Diurnal measurements of leaf conductance and water relations were conducted. Leaf conductance of stressed FC plants was generally lower, than that of controls at most times, but there wee no difference between the two in FV. Leaf conductance and transpiration rates had not fully recovered to pre-stress levels within this recovery period, Leaf wafer potential declined from predawn to midday, more in stressed than control plants of both species. Leaf osmotic potential averaged 0.4 and 0.2 MPa lower in stressed than control FC and FV plants, respectively, Greater differences occurred at midday than predawn. Leaf pressure potential of stressed plants was higher predawn than midday, 1.4 vs. 0.7 MPa, in FC; it was not different for FV at most times. The difference in water relations between these two species may be explained by a greater residual effect from the osmotic adjustment in FC es compared to FV that occurred during prior water deficit stress.

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Alejandra Nieto-Garibay and Enrique Troyo-Dieguez

Diurnal and seasonal water relations, soil humidity, transpiration, water demand, stomatal resistance, and fruit production, as well as some microclimatic parameters, were studied in a semidomesticated chile ecotype (Capsicum frutescens) under two treatments of plastic mulches, black and opaque, and compared with plants without a mulch in Baja California Sur, a Mexican semiarid state. Plants with opaque plastic mulch showed the highest chile production and total growth. The biggest transpiration rates from January to April was evidenced also by this treatment. The soil water content seemed to be determinant. Opaque plastic mulch plants had more soil moisture during the whole experiment. Plants without plastic mulch had the least chile production, with a lesser soil water content. These plants evidenced an osmotic adjustment under drought stress with low water potential, maintaining a partial turgor pressure, and stomatal regulation, in order to control the lost of water by transpiration.

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Sung H. Guak, Lailiang Cheng, and L.H. Fuchigami

Potted apple trees (Malus domestica L. `Gala') were drenched with either water or an antitranspirant (N-2001). After treatment, no additional water was applied to the plants. Abscisic acid (ABA) content of immature and mature leaves was determined by radioimmunoassay after 0, 1, 3, and 5 h and 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, and 9 days after treatment. ABA content of mature and immature leaves of antitranspirant-treated plants peaked 1 and 4 days after treatment, respectively, and remained constant thereafter. In contrast, with increasing water stress, the ABA content of mature and immature leaves of control plants without antitranspirant peaked at 7 and 8 days, respectively. The overall level of ABA in mature leaves of both treatment groups was significantly greater than in immature leaves. The water saturation deficit increased, water and turgor potentials of leaves decreased, and stomatal conductance decreased in response to antitranspirant application. The changes in water relations parameters and stomatal conductance were highly correlated with changes in leaf ABA content.

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Kuo-Tan Li, Jackie Burns, Luis Pozo, and Jim Syvertsen

To determine the effects of abscission compounds 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP) and ethephon on citrus leaf function and water relations, we applied CMNP at 0, 200, 500, 1000, or 2000 ppm, or ethephon at 400 or 800 ppm, to canopies of fruiting potted and field citrus trees during the harvest season. Both compounds induced fruit and leaf drop after 3 days of application, especially at high concentrations. Low concentrations of CMNP (0, 200, or 500 ppm) or either ethephon treatments did not affect leaf photosystem II efficiency, as indicated by leaf chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm). High concentrations of CMNP (1000 or 2000 ppm) immediately reduced photosystem II efficiency in leaves and fruit peel. However, Fv/Fm of leaves remaining on the trees was gradually restored and close to the level of control after 4 days of treatment. Both compounds had little effect on chlorophyll content, ratio of chlorophyll a to chlorophyll b, leaf water content, and mid-day leaf water potential. The results suggest that CMNP at recommended concentrations (200 to 500 ppm) effectively reduced fruit attachment force with little herbicidal effect on leaves.