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J. Girona, M. Mata, D.A. Goldhamer, R.S. Johnson, and T.M. DeJong

Seasonal patterns of soil water content and diurnal leaf water potential (LWP), stomatal conductance(gs), and net CO2 assimilation (A) were determined in a high-density peach [Prunus persica(L) Batsch cv. Cal Red] subjected to regulated deficit irrigation scheduling. The regulated deficit irrigation treatment caused clear differences in soil water content and predawn LWP relative to control irrigation treatments. Treatment differences in midday LWP, gs, and A were also significant, but not as distinct as differences in predawn LWP. Leaves on trees subject of the deficit irrigation treatment were photosynthetically more water-use-efficient during the latter part of the stress period than were the nonstressed trees. Midday LWP and gs, on trees that received the regulated deficit irrigation treatment did not recover to control treatment values until more than 3 weeks after full irrigation was resumed at the beginning of state III of fruit growth, because of water infiltration problems in the dry soil caused by the deficit irrigation. The regulated deficit irrigation treatment caused only a 8% reduction in trunk growth relative to the control, but resulted in a 40% savings in irrigation requirements.

Open access

E. L. Proebsting Jr., J. E. Middleton, and M. O. Mahan

Abstract

Cherry (Prunus avium L.) and prune (P. domestica L.) trees were trickle irrigated daily or weekly at 100%, 50%, and 15% of evaporation from a standard Class “A” pan, adjusted to the area of the tree canopy (Ec), for one full growing season. Soil moisture remained above the wilting point throughout the soil profile with 100% Ec but reached the wilting point except for a wetted zone near the emitters for 50% Ec and 15% Ec. Leaf water potential of shaded cherry leaves at midday averaged near -14 bars for 100% Ec, near -20 bars for 15% Ec, reaching as low as -28 bars for prunes in late July and August. Growth of fruit and vegetative parts was reduced by severe stress but the trees survived on 15% Ec. Prunes recovered to normal yield and growth by the second year after treatment. Peripheral branches of cherries died back during the year of treatment and in the following year. Cherries grew and fruited normally by the third year after treatment except for reduced bearing surface.

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Peter R. Hicklenton, Julia Y. Reekie, Robert J. Gordon, and David C. Percival

Seasonal patterns of CO2 assimilation (ACO2), leaf water potential (ψ1) and stomatal conductance (g1) were studied in three clones (`Augusta', `Brunswick', and `Chignecto') of lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) over two growing seasons. Plants were managed in a 2-year cycle of fruiting (year 1) and burn-prune (year 2). In the fruiting year, ACO2 was lowest in mid-June and early September. Rates peaked between 10 and 31 July and declined after fruit removal in late August. Compared with the fruiting year, ACO2 in the prune year was between 50% and 130% higher in the early season, and between 80% and 300% higher in mid-September. In both years, however, mid-season maximum ACO2 for each clone was between 9 and 10 μmol·m–2·s–1CO2. Assimilation of CO2 increased with increasing photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) to between 500 and 600 μmol·s–1·m–2 in `Augusta' and `Brunswick', and to between 700 and 800 μmol·s–1·m–2 in `Chignecto'. Midday ψ1 was generally lower in the prune year than in the fruiting year, reflecting year-to-year differences in soil water content. Stomatal conductance (g1), however, was generally higher in the prune year than in the fruiting year over similar vapor pressure deficit (VPD) ranges, especially in June and September when prune year g1 was often twice that observed in the fruiting year. In the fruiting year, g1 declined through the day in response to increasing VPD in June, but was quite constant in mid-season. It tended to be higher in `Augusta' than in the other two clones. Stomatal closure imposes limitations on ACO2 in lowbush blueberries, but not all seasonal change in C-assimilative capacity can be explained by changes in g1.

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Kelly J. Prevete, R. Thomas Fernandez, and William B. Miller

Boltonia asteroides L. `Snowbank' (Snowbank boltonia), Eupatorium rugosum L. (eastern white snakeroot), and Rudbeckia triloba L. (three-lobed coneflower) were subjected to drought for 2, 4, and 6 days during the fall and spring. Leaf gas exchange, leaf water potential, growth, and carbohydrate partitioning were measured during drought and throughout the following growing season. Leaf gas exchange of B. asteroides was not affected by drought treatment in the fall, not until day 6 of spring drought, and there were no long-term effects on growth. Transpiration and stomatal conductance of R. triloba decreased when substrate moisture decreased to 21% after drought treatment during both seasons. Assimilation of drought-treated R. triloba decreased when substrate moisture content decreased to 12% during spring but was not affected by drought in the fall. There was a decrease in the root-to-shoot ratio of R. triloba that had been treated for 4 days, which was attributed to an increase in the shoot dry weight (DW) of treated plants. Reductions in spring growth of E. rugosum were observed only after fall drought of 6 days, and there were no differences in final DWs of plants subjected to any of the drought durations. Spring drought had no effect on growth index or DW of any of the perennials. Boltonia asteroides and R. triloba had increases in low-molecular-weight sugars on day 4 of drought, but E. rugosum did not have an increase in sugars of low molecular weight until day 6 of drought. Differences in drought response of B. asteroides, E. rugosum, and R. triloba were attributed to differences in water use rates.

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A.E. Dudeck, C.H. Peacock, and J.C. Wildmon

Salt tolerance in grasses is needed due to increased restrictions on limited fresh water resources and to saltwater intrusion into groundwater. St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] is used widely as a lawngrass in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. We describe the response of four St. Augustinegrass cultivars to solution cultures differentially salinized with synthetic seawater. A sea salt mixture was added to half-strength Hoagland's No. 2 nutrient solution to provide six salinity treatments ranging from 1.1 to 41.5 dS·m-1. Adjustments in leaf water potential, leaf osmotic potential, and leaf turgor potential were measured as salt levels were increased gradually at 2-day intervals over 10 days. Salinity effects on growth of top, crown, and root of each cultivar were measured over 3 months. Turfgrasses differed in their response, but were consistent in adjustment in leaf water potential and in leaf turgor potential as salinity increased. Leaf water potential, leaf osmotic potential, and leaf turgor potential decreased linearly with increased salinity, but a positive turgor of 0.1 MPa was maintained at a salt concentration equal to that of seawater. `Seville', the most salt-tolerant St. Augustinegrass cultivar, exhibited a 50% reduction in top growth at 28.1 dS·m-1, while `Floratam', `Floratine', and `Floralawn' St. Augustinegrasses showed the same reduction in top growth at 22.8 dS·m-1. Differences between cultivars were greatest at salinity levels <10 dS·m-1, where `Seville' was twice as salt-tolerant compared to other cultivars. The grasses did not die, although top growth of all cultivars was severely reduced at a salt level equal to seawater.

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek, and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) was limited either by pruning or by a soil drench of `uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i. per pot. Both treatments changed the water use of hibiscus. Five days after treatment with uniconazole, plants showed reduced water use, an effect that became more pronounced with time. Water use of pruned plants was reduced immediately after pruning, but soon returned to the level of the control due to the rapid regeneration of leaf area. Pruned or chemically treated plants used 6% and 33% less water, respectively, than the control. Chemically treated plants had a smaller leaf area, and individual leaves had lower stomatal density, conductance, and transpiration rate than control plants. Under well-watered conditions, the sap flow rate in the main trunk of control or pruned plants was 120 to 160 g·h-1·m-2, nearly three times higher than the 40 to 70 g·h-1·m-2 measured in chemically treated plants. Liquid flow conductance through the main trunk or stem was slightly higher in chemically treated plants due to higher values of leaf water potential for a given sap flow rate. The capacitance per unit volume of individual leaves appeared to be lower in chemically treated than in control plants. There was also a trend toward lower water-use efficiency in uniconazole-treated plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-l-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

Free access

Yaling Qian and Jack D. Fry

Greenhouse studies were conducted on three warm-season turfgrasses, `Midlawn' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.], and `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), and a cool-season turfgrass, `Mustang' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) to determine 1) water relations and drought tolerance characteristics by subjecting container-grown grasses to drought and 2) potential relationships between osmotic adjustment (OA) and turf recovery after severe drought. Tall fescue was clipped at 6.3 cm once weekly, whereas warm-season grasses were clipped at 4.5 cm twice weekly. The threshold volumetric soil water content (SWC) at which a sharp decline in leaf water potential (ψL) occurred was higher for tall fescue than for warm-season grasses. Buffalograss exhibited the lowest and tall fescue exhibited the highest reduction in leaf pressure potential (ψP) per unit decline in ψL during dry down. Ranking of grasses for magnitude of OA was buffalograss (0.84 MPa) = zoysiagrass (0.77 MPa) > bermudagrass (0.60 MPa) > tall fescue (0.34 MPa). Grass coverage 2 weeks after irrigation was resumed was correlated positively with magnitude of OA (r = 0.66, P < 0.05).

Open access

P.C. Andersen and B.V. Brodbeck

Abstract

Net CO2 assimilation rate (A) and plant water relations of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Flordaking] leaves were monitored during development under field conditions. Leaf conductance to water vapor (gl) and transpiration rate (E) of unfolding and expanding leaves approached maximum values before maximum A values were achieved. Net CO2 assimilation rate and water use efficiency (WUE) were greatest for recently expanded leaves and gradually declined with age after full expansion. Leaf water potential (ψw) was similar for all leaf ages under field conditions. Leaf dry weight/cm2 and chlorophyll/cm2 increased with leaf age after expansion. Diurnal patterns of gl, E, and ψw were similar for expanded spring- and summer-flush leaves. Midday ψw of −2.4 MPa (ψp = about 0.3 MPa) did not reduce gl. Expanding shoots had higher osmotic potentials (ψπ) and thus maintained lower turgor potentials (ψp) than fully expanded shoots. Shoot and leaf elongation rates were related exponentially to ψp and were reduced drastically below ψp 1.0 and 0.7 MPa, respectively. The bulk modulus of elasticity (є) increased linearly with ψp, but there were no significant differences in є of expanding and nonexpanding shoots. As leaf water deficits developed, shoot and leaf expansion were inhibited prior to gl or A. Thus, a moderate level of water stress can reduce the rate of vegetative growth of peach trees without concomitant reductions in carbon assimilation.

Open access

J. P. Syvertsen, M. G. Bausher, and L. G. Albrigo

Abstract

Citrus blight or young tree decline, is a wilt-like disease of unknown etiology which is characterized by restricted water movement and an upset in normal zinc distribution patterns. Diurnal leaf and fruit water potentials and leaf stomatal conductances of sweet orange Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck leaves on trees in various stages of decline were characterized to determine the progression of this disorder. All blight affected trees, regardless of severity of tree condition, had similar diurnal water relations. Blight affected trees have fewer and smaller leaves, less leaf area per tree, lower stomatal conductances, and lower diurnal transpiration rates than healthy trees. These differences did not result in any apparent changes in specific leaf weight, leaf osmotic potentials or in the critical leaf water deficits at which leaf turgor was lost. At equivalent transpirational fluxes, leaf water potential was much lower in blight affected trees than in healthy trees. Therefore, the water stress symptoms associated with blight are related to increased resistances in the water transport system and are not a result of lost stomatal function or changes in water relations characteristics of leaves that remain on blight affected trees.

Free access

Renee H. Harkins, Bernadine C. Strik, and David R. Bryla

electric solenoid valves and an automatic timer. Irrigation was scheduled weekly based on estimates of crop evapotranspiration (ET) but adjusted as needed each week to maintain similar leaf water potentials among treatments. Crop ET was calculated by