The effect of root pressurization on water relations, shoot growth, and leaf gas exchange of peach (Prunus persica) trees on rootstocks with differing growth potential and hydraulic conductance.J Exp Bot. 2006; 57(9):1981-9.JE
It is well known that rootstocks can have an effect on the vegetative growth and development of the tree; however, there has been no clear explanation about the physiological mechanism involved in this phenomenon. Evidence indicates that the rootstock effects on tree vegetative growth may be related to hydraulic limitations of the rootstock. The objective of these experiments was to investigate the shoot growth, water potential, and gas exchange of peach trees on different rootstocks in response to manipulations of water relations of trees on rootstocks that differ in root hydraulic conductance. Tree water relations were manipulated by applying different amounts of pneumatic pressure on the root system and then relative shoot extension growth rate, tree transpiration rate, leaf water potential, leaf conductance, leaf transpiration, and net CO(2) exchange rate responses were measured. Root pressurization increased leaf water potential, relative shoot extension growth rate, leaf conductance, leaf transpiration, and net CO(2) exchange rates of trees on both vigorous and dwarfing rootstocks. There was a significant positive linear correlation between applied pneumatic pressure and tree transpiration rate and leaf water potential. Leaf conductance, transpiration rate, and net CO(2) exchange rate as well as relative shoot extension growth rates were also positively correlated with the applied pneumatic pressure on the root system. These relationships were consistent across both vigorous and size-controlling rootstocks, indicating that rootstock hydraulic limitation may be directly involved in the vegetative growth control of peach trees.