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D.M. Glenn and R. Scorza

In reciprocal grafts of tall (`Elberta' and `Loring') and dwarf (`Empress' and `Juseito') peach (Prunus persica Batsch.) phenotypes, we measured dry-matter partitioning, resistance to root system water flow, and phytohormone content of xylem exudate. Scion characteristics determined the phenotype and growth characteristics of the tree irrespective of the rootstock. Tall phenotypes had higher dry weight and lower root resistance to water flow than dwarf phenotypes. Cytokinin-like activity and auxin levels in xylem sap were higher in dwarf than in tall phenotypes; whereas gibberellin-like activity was unaffected by either rootstock or scion. The scion of peach influenced phytohormone levels and resistance to water flow in the root system in addition to root and shoot growth.

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D.M. Glenn and D.L. Peterson

An irrigation control valve that uses the suction developed in a tensiometer to start and stop the flow of water to the irrigation system without the need of electricity was constructed. When soil water suction reached –22 cbars at 25 cm, the valve opened and then closed at –18 cbars. Peach trees at 6 × 6 m (three trees per plot) or 4.9 × 3 m (five trees per plot) spacing were irrigated with either pulse microsprinkler or drip irrigation. Evapotranspiration (ET) was calculated from pan evaporation and adjusted for each plot, based on canopy diameter. Flow meters measured water use for each plot in a split plot design with six replications. In Sept. 1995, drip ET was 30%, and pulse ET was 200% of calculated ET for both plant spacings. Spatial variability in actual and calculated plot ET was >200%, and actual plot ET was highly correlated with calculated plot ET. Data for the 1996 field season will be presented. The results indicate that spatial variability in water use is high, and the tensiometer valve is effective and reliable in scheduling irrigation in a heterogeneous environment.

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D. Giovannini, D.M. Glenn, and R. Scorza

The objective was to study selected physiological characteristics of the canopy and examine changes in dry matter partitioning between the root and shoot in two genetically reduced size growth types (dwarf and pillar) relative to the standard growth type. The dwarf phenotype had reduced leaf/root ratio, less allocation of dry matter to woody tissue and more to leaf tissue, high net photosynthesis, and lower leaf respiration compared to the standard and pillar phenotypes. The dwarf and pillar types had greater resistance to water flow than the standard type. Genetic changes in growth habit significantly alter many physiological parameters of peach tree growth and structure.

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F. Takeda, M. Wisniewski, and D. M. Glenn

In previous work no difference was found in leaf water potential or solute potential between young guttating leaves and older non-guttating leaves of the same plant. This suggested that the absence of guttation in older leaves was associated with a plant resistance component in the hydathodes. Hydathodes of young, folded leaves contained water pores with various apertures and no signs of occlusion.. In expanded, young leaves, production of epicuticular waxes and excretion of some substance through the pores was observed in the hydathode region. By the time leaves had fully expanded the hydathodes had become brownish. The combination of wax deposition and excreted substance had formed plates of solid material covering water pores. These observations suggest that deposition of substances on top of pores contribute to occlusion of water pores in old leaves.

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W.V. Welker and D.M. Glenn

Peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees were planted in killed sod developed from five different grasses. Tree growth was evaluated within the killed-sod treatments, as well as between killed-sod and bare soil treatments. Canopy width, tree height, and trunk cross-sectional area were all greater in the killed-sod treatments than in the bare soil treatments. All five grasses tested were acceptable for developing a killed-sod mulch. Chemical names used: N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate); N1(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-N,N-dimethylurea (diuron); 5-chloro-3-(1-1-dimethylethyl)-6-methyl-2,4(1H,3H)-pyrimidinedione (terbacil).

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D. M. Glenn and W. V. Welker

Carbon dioxide is produced by microbial and plant respiration and accumulates in the soil. In previous field studies, CO2 levels were higher under a killed sod soil management system, relative to cultivation and herbicide systems (1.8 vs 0.8 and 1.0%), respectively. Our objective in these studies was to measure the effect of elevated levels of root system CO2 on root and shoot growth and nutrient uptake. Using soil and hydroponic systems in greenhouse studies, we maintained root system CO2 levels between 1.5 and 2.5%. Control CO2 levels were less than 1%. Root length density and dry matter partitioning to the root system were increased by root CO2 in soil and hydroponic studies; shoot growth was unaffected. In hydroponic culture, root CO2 increased P uptake, solution pH, root volume and the number of lateral roots/cm root axis. Elevated levels of CO2 in the root system stimulated root growth in both the soil and hydroponic studies.

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D.M. Glenn and S.S. Miller

The objectives of this 7-year study were to determine the effect of repeated root pruning and irrigation on peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) tree growth and soil water use. Root pruning began in the year of planting. Peach trees trained to a freestanding “Y” were root-pruned at flowering for 4 years (1985 to 1988) and subsequently at flowering and monthly through July for 3 years (1989 to 1991). Irrigation was withheld or applied the full season or only during stage 3 of fruit growth on root-pruned and non-root-pruned trees. Root pruning limited soil water availability throughout most of the growing season when irrigation was withheld; however, when irrigation was applied, there was no difference in soil water availability. The root length density of peach roots was greatest in the 0 to 30-cm depth, was promoted by irrigation, and was reduced by root pruning in the 0 to 90-cm root zone. Full-season irrigation increased vegetative growth over the nonirrigated treatments. Root pruning had no effect on vegetative growth measured as fresh pruned material. The treatments had no effect on leaf nutrient content, except that root pruning reduced Zn in five consecutive years. Fruit yield was reduced 1 in 5 years by root pruning, and full-season irrigation reduced yield in 3 of 5 years. Repeated root pruning restricted the lateral spread of the root zone and the use of soil resources, yet on the deep soil of this site, restricting the lateral extent of the root zone did not reduce vegetative tree growth.

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D.M. Glenn and W.V. Welker

Planting sod beneath peach trees to control excessive vegetative growth was evaluated from 1987 to 1993 in three field studies. Peach trees were established and maintained in 2.5-m-wide, vegetation-free strips for 3 years, and then sod was planted beneath the trees and maintained for 5 to 7 years. Reducing the vegetation-free area beneath established peach trees to a 30- or 60-cm-wide herbicide strip reduced total pruning weight/tree and weight of canopy water shoots in many years. Fruit yield was reduced by reducing the size of the vegetation-free area in some, but not all, years; however, yield efficiency (kg yield/cm2 of trunk area) was not reduced in two studies, and in only 1 year in the third study. Planting sod beneath peach trees increased available soil water content in all years and yield efficiency based-evapotranspiration (kg yield/cm soil water use + precipitation) in some years compared to the 2.5-m herbicide strip. Reestablishing sod beneath peach trees has the potential to control vegetative growth and may be appropriate for high-density peach production systems where small, efficient trees are needed.

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D.M. Glenn and W.V. Welker

Mature peach trees were grown in six different-sized vegetation-free areas (VFA) (0.36 to 13 m2) with and without stage-III drip irrigation for 6 years. As the VFA increased, so did the trunk cross-sectional area, total yield/tree, large fruit yield/tree, and pruning weight/tree. The application of supplemental irrigation increased yield of large fruit and leaf N percentage in all VFAs. Winter hardiness was not affected by either size of the VFA or irrigation. The yield efficiency of total fruit and large fruit decreased, however, with the increasing size of VFAs. The smaller VFAs resulted in smaller, more-efficient trees. Managing the size of the VFA was an effective, low-cost approach to controlling peach tree size and, when combined with irrigated, high-density production, offers a potential for increased productivity.