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E. L. Proebsting Jr. and J. E. Middleton

Abstract

Trees of peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) and pear (Pyrus communis L.) were grown without irrigation and received only 86-mm rainfall during the growing season. Many peach trees died after experiencing leaf water potentials below −30 bars in July and August. Defoliation began in July, fruit growth was arrested, flavor was astringent, and flower buds failed to differentiate. Pear trees survived under similar conditions although tops died back or grew poorly and flowering was reduced. Regrowth came from trunks and lower scaffolds. Heavy pruning (“dehorning”) delayed the appearance of drought symptoms until very late in the season and resulted in 100% survival of both peach and pear trees. Heavy thinning of peaches in early June did not affect current season's symptoms but apparently reduced dieback and death of trees.

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Mathieu Ngouajio, Guangyao Wang, and Ronald G. Goldy

water potential was measured using the third fully expanded leaf. Five leaves were collected in each plot before sunrise ( Rudich et al., 1981 ), enclosed in zip-lock bags, and put in an insulated box. Leaf water potential was measured after leaf

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Pedro Perdomo, James A. Murphy, and Gerald A. Berkowitz

Understanding the factors influencing the performance of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) cultivars under summer stress is necessary for developing criteria for identifying resistant germplasm. The objectives of this study were to evaluate two Kentucky bluegrass cultivars for leaf water (ψl) and osmotic potential (ψπ), stomatal resistance (Rs), leaf: air temperature differential (ΔT) and determine the relationship of these parameters to drought and heat tolerance. Stress-resistant (`Midnight') and susceptible (`Nugget') cultivars were evaluated in a field study during 1993 and 1994 under moisture-limiting conditions. Leaf water potential for `Nugget' was higher than for `Midnight' in 1993 and similar in 1994. `Midnight' had lower ψπ than `Nugget' during the evaluation period in 1994. `Midnight' maintained more open stomata (lower Rs) and lower ΔT than `Nugget' at the end of the dry down period when `Nugget' was showing visual signs of stress. `Midnight' and `Nugget' had similar root weight at the 0- to 45-cm depth zone in 1994. Lower basal osmotic potential (i.e., higher solute concentration) may be the physiological mechanism allowing larger stomatal aperture in `Midnight'. Greater transpirational cooling in `Midnight' relative to `Nugget' was correlated with higher turf quality for `Midnight'.

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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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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.

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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).

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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).