Influence of water deficit and low air humidity in the nursery on survival of Rhamnus alaternus seedlings following planting

Journal ar
Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology
  • Volumen: 78
  • Número: 4
  • Fecha: 01 julio 2003
  • Páginas: 518-522
  • ISSN: 14620316
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
  • Editorial: Headley Brothers Ltd
The effect of irrigation and air humidity on the water relations and root and shoot growth of Rhamnus alaternus L. during the nursery phase was considered to evaluate the resulting degree of hardening obtained by these treatments. R. alaternus seedlings were pot-grown in two greenhouses of equal characteristics. In one of these greenhouses air humidity was controlled using a dehumidifying system, while in the other one the environmental conditions were not artificially modified. In each greenhouse, two irrigation treatments were used. Thus, four different treatments were applied during the nursery phase (January-May): 1) control air humidity + control irrigation; 2) control air humidity + deficit irrigation; 3) low air humidity + control irrigation; 4) low air humidity + deficit irrigation. In May, plants of all treatments were transplanted and grown in good environmental and irrigation conditions for one month (17 May-20 June), after which they received no irrigation until the end of the experiment (14 July). Low air humidity and water deficit reduced all shoot growth parameters during the nursery phase, however the root growth was not significantly affected by air humidity and even increased under the water deficit. The reduction in leaf water potential under water stress was induced by tissue dehydration since leaf turgor potential also decreased and non-osmotic adjustment was observed. The drought effects on water relations were similar in both low and high air humidity. The leaf stomatal conductance was also reduced by both types of stress, leading to a decrease in the rate of photosynthesis at the end of the nursery phase. Both water deficit and low air humidity showed their value as nursery acclimation processes, improving the survival of seedlings following transplanting and non-irrigation conditions (establishment phase). The stomatal regulation and a shift in the allocation of assimilates from shoot to root were the acclimation mechanisms showed by R. alaternus under both types of stress. The accumulated effects in low air humidity and water deficit plants could explain the highest percentage of survival at the end of the establishment period (97%) for the combined treatment.

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