Total soil water content accounts for augmented ABA leaf concentration and stomatal regulation of split-rooted apple trees during heterogeneous soil drying Public Deposited

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  • A split-rooted containerized system was developed by approach grafting two, 1-year-old apple (Malusxdomestica Borkh. cv 'Gala') trees to investigate the effect of soil moisture heterogeneity and total soil moisture content (θv) on tree water relations, gas exchange, and leaf abscisic acid (ABA) concentration [ABA[subscript leaf]]. Four irrigation treatments comprising a 2 x 2 factorial experiment of irrigation volume and placement were imposed over a 30-day period: control (C) [> 100% of crop evapotranspiration (ET[subscript c])] applied to both containers; PRD100 (> 100% ET[subscript c]) applied to one container only; and two treatments receiving 50% ET[subscript c] applied to either one (PRD50) or both containers (DI50). Irrigation between PRD (partial rootzone drying) root compartments was alternated when θv reached ~35% of field capacity. Maximum daily sap flow of the irrigated roots of PRD100 exceeded that of C roots throughout the experimental period. Pre-dawn water potential (ψ[subscript pd]) was similar between C and PRD100; however, daily water use and mid-day gas exchange of PRD100 was 30% lower. Slightly higher [ABA[subscript leaf]] was observed in PRD100, but the effect was not significant and could not explain the observed reductions in leaf gas exchange. Both 50% ET[subscript c] treatments had similar, but lower θv,ψpd, and gas exchange, and higher [ABA[subscript leaf]] than C and PRD100. Regardless of treatment, the container having the lower θv of a split-rooted system correlated poorly with [ABA[subscript leaf]], but when θv of both containers or θv of the container possessing the higher soil moisture was used, the relationship markedly improved. These results imply that apple canopy gas exchange and [ABA[subscript leaf]] are responsive to the total soil water environment.
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  • Einhorn, T. C., Caspari, H. W., & Green, S. (2012). Total soil water content accounts for augmented ABA leaf concentration and stomatal regulation of split-rooted apple trees during heterogeneous soil drying. Journal of Experimental Botany, 63(14), 5365.
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