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Stem and leaf water potentials, gas exchange, sap flow, and trunk diameter fluctuations for detecting water stress in lemon trees

AuthorsOrtuño Gallud, Mª Fernanda ; García-Orellana, Y.; Conejero Puente, Wenceslao ; Ruiz Sánchez, M. Carmen ; Alarcón Cabañero, Juan José ; Torrecillas Melendreras, Arturo
KeywordsGas exchange
Sap flow
Trunk diameter fluctuations
Water relations
Water stress
Issue DateJan-2006
CitationTrees - Structure and Function 20(1) :1-8 (2006)
AbstractThe sensitivity of continuous (on a whole-day basis) and discretely (at midday) measured indicators of the plant water status in adult lemon trees in response to a cycle of water deprivation and recovery, and the feasibility of obtaining baselines for tree water status indicators was investigated in 30-year-old Fino lemon trees (Citrus limon (L.) Burm. fil.) grafted on sour orange (C. aurantium L.) rootstocks. Control plants (T0) were irrigated daily above their crop water requirements in order to obtain non-limiting soil water conditions, while T1 plants were subjected to water stress by withholding irrigation for 50 days, after which time irrigation was restored and plant recovery was studied for 16 days. In T0 plants the water relations and the plant symptoms confirmed that they had not suffered waterlogging. In contrast, T1 plants showed a substantial degree of water stress, which developed very slowly. Maximum daily trunk shrinkage (MDS) increased in response to water stress during the first 15 days of the experiment, but when the stem water potential (Ψstem) fell below −1.8 MPa, the MDS signal intensity decreased. However, Ψstem and sap flow (SF) signal intensities progressively increased during the water stress period. The results showed that MDS is a very suitable plant-based indicator for precise irrigation scheduling in adult lemon trees. Reference or baseline relationships for MDS, Ψstem, and SF measurements as a function of several parameters related to the evaporative demand of the atmosphere were obtained. This fact open up the possibility of considering a plant-based indicator measurement at a given time relative to the expected value under non-limiting water conditions, which can be calculated from the reference relationships.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00468-005-0004-8
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