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Partial rootzone drying improves almond tree leaf-level water use efficiency and afternoon water status compared with regulated deficit irrigation

Egea, Gregorio and Dodd, Ian C. and Gonzalez-Real, Maria M. and Domingo, Rafael and Baille, Alain (2011) Partial rootzone drying improves almond tree leaf-level water use efficiency and afternoon water status compared with regulated deficit irrigation. Functional Plant Biology, 38 (5). pp. 372-385. ISSN 1445-4408

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Abstract

To determine whether partial rootzone drying (PRD) optimised leaf gas exchange and soil-plant water relations in almond (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb) compared with regulated deficit irrigation (RDI), a 2 year trial was conducted on field-grown trees in a semiarid climate. Five irrigation treatments were established: full irrigation (FI) where the trees were irrigated at 100% of the standard crop evapotranspiration (ETc); three PRD treatments (PRD70, PRD50 and PRD30) that applied 70, 50 and 30% ETc, respectively; and a commercially practiced RDI treatment that applied 50% ETc during the kernel-filling stage and 100% ETc during the remainder of the growth season. Measurements of volumetric soil moisture content in the soil profile (0-100 cm), predawn leaf water potential (Psi(pd)), midday stem water potential (Psi(ms)), midday leaf gas exchange and trunk diameter fluctuations (TDF) were made during two growing seasons. The diurnal patterns of leaf gas exchange and stem water potential (Psi(s)) were appraised during the kernel-filling stage in all irrigation regimes. When tree water relations were assessed at solar noon, PRD did not show differences in either leaf gas exchange or tree water status compared with RDI. At similar average soil moisture status (adjudged by similar Psi(pd)), PRD50 trees had higher water status than RDI trees in the afternoon, as confirmed by Psi(s) and TDF. Although irrigation placement showed no effects on diurnal stomatal regulation, diurnal leaf net photosynthesis (A(1)) was substantially less limited in PRD50 than in RDI trees, indicating that PRD improved leaf-level water use efficiency.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Functional Plant Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords: deficit irrigation ; leaf gas exchange ; Prunus dulcis ; regulated deficit irrigation ; soil moisture heterogeneity ; stem water potential ; FIELD-GROWN GRAPEVINES ; ABSCISIC-ACID ; SAP FLOW ; PHOTOSYNTHETIC LIMITATIONS ; SOIL-MOISTURE ; GAS-EXCHANGE ; STOMATAL CONDUCTANCE ; CARBON ASSIMILATION ; SOLANUM-TUBEROSUM ; FRUIT COMPOSITION
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 50439
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 19 Oct 2011 14:56
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013 22:47
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/50439

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