Journal Article

Sap flow index as an indicator of plant water status

Nadezhda Nadezhdina

in Tree Physiology

Volume 19, issue 13, pages 885-891
Published in print November 1999 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online November 1999 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Sap flow index as an indicator of plant water status

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Night and especially predawn tree water status is an important indicator of drought stress in trees. Leaf water potential (LWP) is frequently used as a measure of tree water status and hence drought stress; however, there are difficulties associated with sampling foliage from tall trees and determining LWP automatically. The current study was undertaken to determine whether sap flow index (SFI), which can be automatically and continuously recorded even during very low flows, can be used to estimate drought stress in trees caused by dry air under non-limiting soil water conditions. We made simultaneous measurements of LWP, heat pulse velocity (HPV) and SFI on apple trees (Malus domestica Borkh.) in the semiarid climate of southern Ukraine over several growing seasons. Predawn values of LWP were highly correlated with SFI. Over the range of low sap flow rates occurring at nighttime, where other methods of measuring sap flow are not sensitive, the SFI method was linear and very sensitive. Additional information about tree water status was obtained by comparing nighttime and daytime values of SFI. The ratio of predawn SFI to midday SFI and the period between the two daily SFI maxima (the first SFI peak occurred in the morning and the second peak occurred in the evening on cloudless days) can be used to characterize internal plant water balance. Although the daily course of SFI was variable, specific patterns were identified that reflected particular stages in the development of plant drought stress. An “air-drought-stress curve” was used to characterize the development of water stress in trees subjected to air drought during the growing season.

Keywords: air-drought-stress curve; apple; heat pulse velocity; heated probe method; leaf water potential; Malus domestica

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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