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  • Author or Editor: A. Meiri x
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In most crop species, growth of the shoot is more sensitive to salt stress than root growth. Avocado [Persea americana Mill.] is very sensitive to NaCl stress. Even low concentrations of salt (15 mm) inhibit tree growth and decrease productivity. Observations in experimental orchards have suggested that root growth in avocado might be more restricted by salinity than shoot growth. In the present study, we evaluated quantitatively the inhibitory effects of salt stress on growth of the avocado root in comparison to the shoot. Seedling plants of the West-Indian rootstock `Degania 117' were grown in complete nutrient solution containing 1, 5, 15, or 25 mm NaCl. The threshold NaCl concentration causing root and shoot growth reduction occurred between 5 and 15 mm. At all concentrations, root growth was much more sensitive to salinity than shoot growth. A concentration of 15 mm NaCl, which did not affect the rate of leaf emergence on the plant and decreased leaf biomass production only 10%, induced a 43% reduction in the rate of root elongation and decreased root volumetric growth rate by 33%. Under 25 mm NaCl, leaf biomass production, leaf initiation rate and leaf elongation rate were reduced 19.5%, 12%, and 5%, respectively, while root volumetric growth and root elongation rate were reduced 65% and 75%, respectively. This strong root growth inhibition is expected to influence the whole plant and therefore root growth under salinity should be considered as an important criterion for rootstocks' tolerance to NaCl.

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Water conservation strategies are being investigated for watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] production in the Winter Garden region of southwest Texas. Our objective was to determine how yield and fruit quality of a triploid (cv. Summer Sweet 5244) and hybrid (cv. Summer Flavor 710) watermelon were affected by irrigation based on evapotranspiration (ET) rates and timing of application during spring. Irrigation treatments included constant 1.0 and 0.5 ET, three with varying ET before or after fruit set, and one with cycles of 1.0 and 0.5 ET. Fruit quality characteristics were measured at the unripe, ripe, and overripe maturity stages. Water deficit before or after fruit set decreased yield and fruit number. Flesh color was not affected by irrigation at any maturity stage. Soluble solid content at the ripe stage increased only in triploids irrigated with constant 0.5 ET or with 0.5 ET applied after fruit set. Triploid plants exposed to frequent cycles of water deficit set more and smaller fruit than hybrids. These data suggest that triploid watermelon types may have a different acclimation response to drought stress than diploid hybrids.

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Reductions in the supply of high-quality irrigation water from underground aquifers is affecting production and irrigation management in the Winter Garden of southwestern Texas. This study was conducted to determine how growth, yield, and quality of watermelons [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] grown with subsurface drip are affected by synchronizing irrigation with specific growth stages. In 1995 irrigation rates were: 1.0 evapotranspiration (ET) throughout the entire growth period (T1); 1.0ET until fruit set followed by 0.6ET until final harvest (T2); 1.0ET until fruit set followed by 0.6ET until first fruit maturity followed by 0.4ET until final harvest (T3); 1.0ET until fruit set followed by 0.6ET until first fruit maturity followed by 0.2ET until final harvest (T4). In 1996, two irrigation rates were constant 1.0ET (T1) and 0.5ET (T4), and two with varying ET rates throughout the entire growth period. Varying irrigation rates with specific growth stages had more influence on fruit set and early yield than on leaf and vine growth. Total marketable fruit yield ranged from 94.4 to 71.8 Mg·ha–1 when 569 mm (T1) and 371 mm (T4) of irrigation water, respectively, were applied in Spring 1995, and from 90.3 to 80.9 Mg·ha–1 when 881 mm (T1) and 577 mm (T4) of irrigation water, respectively, were applied in Spring 1996. However, plants irrigated with constant 0.5ET demonstrated greater water use efficiency than those with 1.0ET. Information on water use will assist farmers in designing management strategies that minimize risks due to uncertainties in weather and water supplies.

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The salt tolerance of cultivars of muskmelon (Cucumis melo, L.) was established under 2 levels of radiation in a glasshouse experiment. ‘Galia’ and ‘Top Mark’ muskmelon differed very little in salt tolerance at either radiation level. The maximum electrical conductivity of a saturated soil extract without yield reduction, the salt tolerance threshold, was 2.0 dS m−1. Beyond the threshold, yield was reduced at a rate of 14.3% per unit increase in soil salinity. Both cultivars were more salt-tolerant at the higher level of solar radiation.

Open Access