Osmotic adjustment in response to onset of winter dormancy was characterized in well-watered, potted sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) and southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) growing outdoors in Knoxville, Tenn. Analyses of water potential isotherms indicated that adjustment occurred in both species, with osmotic potential (ψπ) at full turgor decreasing 0.8 MPa in sweetgum (by the time of first color, 27 Oct.) and 1.0 MPa in magnolia (by 1 Dec.). Osmotic adjustment occurred despite the fact that plants did not suffer osmotic stress; morning and afternoon leaf relative water content (RWC) and leaf water potential (ψ) remained high throughout the fall. Leaf conductance was halved in sweetgum and doubled in magnolia as the autumn progressed. A correlation was found in magnolia between turgid : dry weight ratio and ψπ at full turgor. Tissue elasticity decreased somewhat, as the elastic modulus increased ≈2 to 3 MPa in each species through the autumn. Water potential isotherms changed most dramatically through the autumn in magnolia. Initially, ψ was −1 MPa at 82% RWC and, by December, leaves were able to withstand ψs of −3 MPa before RWC dropped to 82%. These changes are similar to those commonly reported as responses to drought or salinity.
The influence of irradiance and drought on osmotic and turgor adjustment was examined in leaves of rose (Rosa hybrida L. `Samantha'). Plants cultured under full ambient light in the greenhouse were placed in shade chambers and, after 2 weeks of acclimation, exposed to drought for 21 days. Treatments consisted of a water stress factor (well-watered and drought-stressed) and an irradiance factor (100%, 70%, and 30% of ambient irradiance). Pressure-volume analyses of leaves indicated that osmotic potentials at full turgor were decreased 0.42, 0.36, and 0.23 MPa by drought in the 100%, 70%, and 30% irradiance treatments, respectively. Plants stressed under 100% and 70% irradiance exhibited similar osmotic adjustments. Plants under 30% irradiance had higher osmotic potentials at full turgor under well-watered conditions than plants in the other two irradiance treatments and showed only 55% as much adjustment to drought. In each irradiance treatment, drought induced an increase in elastic modulus and a decrease in relative water content at zero turgor. Turgor pressures were higher across a range of relative water contents in plants in the two higher irradiance treatments under both soil moisture treatments. Turgor also was higher at any particular water potential at 100% and 70% irradiance than 30% irradiance, within each soil moisture treatment. Heavy, but not mild, shading inhibited osmotic and turgor adjustments in leaves during drought.