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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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J.M.S. Scholberg and S.J. Locascio

Although the effects of salinity on yield of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) grown under arid and semiarid conditions are well known, little information is available on the effects of salinity on crops grown in more humid conditions. In Florida, availability of high-quality water for irrigation may be reduced because of increased domestic consumption and sea water intrusion. Two greenhouse studies were conducted to determine the influence of irrigation system and water quantity and quality on the growth of tomato and snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Bean plant heights and weights were greater with drip irrigation than with subirrigation. Bean seed germination percentage, plant height, and shoot weight decreased linearly with an increase in electrical conductivity of irrigation water (ECi) from 1 to 4 dS·m-1. Tomato leaf water potential and plant height decreased linearly with increasing salinity. Tomato stem and leaf weights were greatest at the intermediate salinity (2 dS·m-1) during initial growth, and stem weights decreased linearly with increased salinity during flowering. With drip irrigation, concentration of N for both crops decreased and concentration of P increased with an increase in water application from 0.75 to 1.5 times the estimated evapotranspiration rate (ETa). Tomato and bean tissue Na concentrations increased linearly with increased salinity. Total fruit yield and average fruit weight decreased linearly in tomato, and marketable fruit yield decreased quadratically with increased salinity.

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Jonathan N. Egilia, Fred T. Davies Jr, and Sharon Duray

Hibiscus plants, were irrigated with full strength Hoagland's nutrient solution containing either 0,2,5, or 10 mM potasium(K). After 72 days of K treatment, half of the plants at each K level were subjected to a 21-day slowly developing drought stress cycle and the other half were non-drought stressed (ND). Mid-day leaf water potentials at day 21 was-1.5 to-1.6 MPa (DS), and -0.5 MPa (ND). Leaf K concentration increased with increasing K in nutrient solution for both DS and ND plants, but K was higher in DS than ND plants at 2.5 and 10 mM K. Of the macronutrient cations, only (Ca) was inversely correlated with nutrient solution K, in both DS and ND plants. Leaf concentrations of all the micronutrient cations increased with increasing K supply, regardless of drought stress. Potassium hadt significant positive correlation with total plant and leaf dry weight of DS, but not ND plants. Leaf stable carbon isotope composition (δ13 C,an estimate of long term water-use efficiency), was positively correlated with N, Mg and Ca, and negatively correlated with K, iron (Fe), and K:total cation ratio regardless of drought stress. Both net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were negatively correlated with N and Ca, but positively correlated with K, Fe and manganese in ND plants.

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Jyotsna Sharma, Steve Pallardy, and Denny Schrock

Perennial wildflowers, once established, are a low-maintenance alternative in a flowerbed. However, water stress and poor root development in field soil can be detrimental to young plants at the time of transplanting. A fully expanded hydrogel, HydroSource, was incorporated to replace 0% (control), 7.5%, 15% (recommended rate), and 30% of the volume of a clayey field soil to determine its effect on plant water status. Addition of hydrogel reduced water stress in Asclepias incarnata and Gaillardia grandiflora plants. Plants growing in hydrogel amended soil had: 1) significantly lower stomatal resistance (P < 0.01); and 2) significantly higher leaf water potential (P < 0.01). Gaillardia grandiflora control plants showed considerable wilting (reflected in high stomatal resistance and low water potential readings) on the 3rd day of the drought period while those with 15% and 30% hydrogel were turgid even on the 5th day. Hydrogel-amended soil appeared less compacted, and root growth in Asclepias incarnata increased with the increasing rate of hydrogel added to the soil.

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William W. Inman and William L. Bauerle

Recent work has shown that stomatal conductance (gs) and net photosynthesis (Anet) are responsive to the hydraulic conductance of the soil to leaf pathway (Xp). Two tree species with differing xylem structures were used to study the effect of systematic manipulations in Xp that elevated xylem hydraulic resistance. Simultaneous measures of gs, Anet, bulk leaf abscisic acid concentration (ABAL), leaf water potential (L), and whole plant transpiration (Ew) were taken under controlled environment conditions. Quercus shumardii Buckl. (shumard oak), a ring porous species and Acer rubrum L. `Summer Red' (red maple), a diffuse porous species, were studied to investigate the short-term hydraulic and chemical messenger response to drought. Both species decreased Anet, gs, L, and Ew in response to an immediate substrate moisture alteration. Relative to initial well-watered values, red maple Anet, gs, and Ew declined more than shumard oak. However, gs and Anet vs. whole-plant leaf specific hydraulic resistance was greater in shumard oak. In addition, the larger hydraulic resistance in shumard oak was attributed to higher shoot, as opposed to root, system resistance. The results indicate hydraulic resistance differences that may be attributed to the disparate xylem anatomy between the two species. This study also provides evidence to support the short-term hydraulic signal negative feedback link hypothesis between gs and the cavitation threshold, as opposed to chemical signaling via rapid accumulation from root-synthesized ABA.

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William R. Graves, Robert J. Joly, and Michael N. Dana

Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Wind.) and tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle] sometimes are exposed to high root-zone temperatures in urban microclimates. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that seedlings of these species differ in how elevated root-zone temperature affects growth, leaf water relations, and root hydraulic properties. Shoot extension, leaf area, root: shoot ratio, and root and shoot dry weights were less for tree-of-heaven grown with the root zone at 34C than for those with root zones at 24C. Tree-of-heaven with roots at 34C had a lower mean transpiration rate (E) than those grown at 24C, but leaf water potential (ψ1) was similar at both temperatures. In contrast, shoot extension of seedlings of honey locust grown with roots at 34C was greater than honey locust at 24C, E was similar at both temperatures, and ψ1 was reduced at 34C. Hydraulic properties of root systems grown at both temperatures were determined during exposure to pressure in solution held at 24 or 34C. For each species at both solution temperatures, water flux through root systems (Jv) grown at 34C was less than for roots grown at 24C. Roots of tree-of-heaven grown at 34C had lower hydraulic conductivity coefficients (Lp) than those grown at 24C, but Lp of roots of honey locust grown at the two temperatures was similar.

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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.

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Stephanie Burnett, Marc van Iersel, and Paul Thomas

Osmotic compounds, such as polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG-8000), reduce plant elongation by imposing controlled drought. However, the effects of PEG-8000 on nutrient uptake are unknown. Impatiens `Dazzler Pink' (Impatiens walleriana Hook. F.) were grown hydroponically in modified Hoagland solutions containing 0, 10, 17.5, 25, 32.5, 40, 47.5, 55, or 62.5 g·L–1 PEG-8000. Impatiens were up to 68% shorter than control plants when grown with PEG-8000 in the nutrient solution. Plants treated with PEG-8000 rates above 25 g·L–1 were either damaged or similar in size to seedlings treated with 25 g·L–1 of PEG-8000. Impatiens leaf water potentials (Ψw) were positively correlated with plant height. PEG-8000 reduced the electrical conductivity of Hoagland solutions as much as 40% compared to nontreated Hoagland solutions, suggesting that PEG-8000 may bind some of the nutrient ions in solution. Foliar tissue of PEG-treated impatiens contained significantly less nitrogen, calcium, zinc, and copper, but significantly more phosphorus and nickel than tissue from nontreated impatiens. However, no nutrient deficiency symptoms were induced.

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N.S. Lang, L. Mills, R.L. Wample, J. Silbernagel, E.M. Perry, and R. Smithyman

Research suggests that blackleaf (a leaf disorder in grape, Vitis labrusca L.) is induced by high levels of ultra violet (UV) radiation and overall light intensity, resulting in color changes (purple-brown-black) for sun-exposed leaves of the outer canopy, and a corresponding >50% reduction in photosynthesis. Metabolic indicators (photosynthesis and leaf water potential), percent blackleaf expression, and full spectrum leaf reflectance were mapped within vineyards using global positioning system (GPS) and digital remotely-sensed images. Each image and data record was stored as an attribute associated with a specific vine location within a geographical information system (GIS). Spatial maps were created from the GIS coverages to graphically present the progression of blackleaf across vineyards throughout the season. Analysis included summary statistics such as minimum, maximum, and variation of green reflectance, within a vineyard by image capture date. Additionally, geostatistics were used to model the degree of similarity between blackleaf values as a function of their spatial location. Remote-image analysis indicated a decrease in percent greenness of about 45% between July and August, which was related to a decrease in photosynthesis and an increase in blackleaf symptom expression within the canopy. Examination of full spectral leaf reflectance indicated differences at specific wavelengths for grape leaves exposed to UV or water-deficit stress. This work suggests that remote-image and leaf spectral reflectance analysis may be a strong tool for monitoring changes in metabolism associated with plant stress.

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Stephanie E. Burnett, Svoboda V. Pennisi, Paul A. Thomas, and Marc W. van Iersel

Polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG-8000) was applied to a soilless growing medium at the concentrations of 0, 15, 20, 30, 42, or 50 g·L-1 to impose controlled drought. Salvia (Salvia splendens F. Sellow. ex Roem & Shult.) seeds were planted in the growing medium to determine if controlled drought affects morphology and anatomy of salvia. Polyethylene glycol decreased emergence percentage and delayed emergence up to 5 days. Stem elongation of salvia treated with the five lowest concentrations was reduced up to 35% (21 days after seeding), and salvia were a maximum of 53% shorter and the canopy was 20% more narrow compared to nontreated seedlings 70 days after seeding. These morphological changes were attributed to PEG-8000 mediated reduction in leaf water potential (Ψw). The growing medium Ψw ranged from -0.29 to -0.85 MPa in PEG-8000 treated plants, and plant height was positively correlated with Ψw 21 days after seeding. Stem diameter of PEG-treated seedlings was reduced up to 0.4 mm mainly due to reductions in vascular cross-sectional area. Xylem cross-sectional area decreased more than stem and phloem cross-sectional area. Polyethylene glycol 8000 reduced vessel element number, but not diameter.