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Jayne M. Zajicek and J.L. Heilman

A study was conducted to explore how surface materials, including pine bark mulch, bare soil, and turfgrass, affect water use of diverse cultivars (dwarf weeping, dwarf upright, standard weeping, and standard upright) of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica L.). Daily water use was measured gravimetrically, and instantaneous rates of sap flow were measured using heat balance stem flow gauges. Plants of all cultivars surrounded by the mulched surface lost 0.63 to 1.25 kg·m-2·day-1 more water than plants on the soil surface and 0.83 to 1.09 kg·m-2·day-1 more than plants surrounded by turf. The surface temperature of the mulch was higher than that of the other surfaces, resulting in greater fluxes of longwave radiation from the surface. Because of the greater energy load, plants on the mulched surface had higher leaf temperatures and higher leaf-air vapor pressure deficits (VPD) throughout the day. Plants on the mulched area also had higher stomata1 conductances during most of the day compared with those on bare soil and turfgrass surfaces.

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Susan L. Steinberg, Jayne M. Zajicek, and Marshall J. McFarland

Growth of potted Ligustrum was controlled by uniconazole at 3.0 mg a.i./pot. Uniconazole inhibited growth by inducing shorter internodes with smaller diameter and by reducing secondary branching and new leaf production. As a result, the total leaf area of the treated plants was 6396 less than the control plants. The chlorophyll content of recently expanded leaves was 27% lower in treated than in control plants, even though there were no visual differences in leaf color. Leaves of treated plants also had a 28% higher stomatal density than the control. The liquid flow conductance of Ligustrum was 3.7 × 10-14 m·s-1·Pa-1 and was similar for plants in both treatments. Differences in daily water, use between the two treatments began to appear at the same time as differences in growth. Total water use of treated plants was 13% less than that of the control. When daily water use was normalized on a-leaf-area basis, water use between treatments was similar, suggesting that differences in total water use were primarily due to differences in leaf area. For plants in both treatments, peak sap flow rates in the main trunk ranged between 60 and 100 g·h-1·m-2. Leaf conductance, transpiration rates, and water potential were also similar for treated and control plants. Chemical name used: (E)-1-(4-chlorophenyll) -4,4, -dimethyl-2-(l,2,4-triazo1-l-y1)-l-penten-3-ol (uniconazole).

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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).