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Early morning fluctuations in trunk diameter are highly sensitive to water stress in nectarine trees

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Irrigation Science
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)117-128
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/01/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The sensitivity to water stress of different plant water status indicators was evaluated during two consecutive years in early nectarine trees grown in a semi-arid region. Measurements were made post-harvest and two irrigation treatments were applied: a control treatment (CTL), irrigated at 120 % of crop evapotranspiration demand to achieve non-limiting water conditions, and a deficit irrigation treatment, that applied around 37 % less water than CTL during late postharvest. The plant water status indicators evaluated were midday stem water potential (Ψstem) and indices derived from trunk diameter fluctuations: maximum daily shrinkage (MDS), trunk daily growth rate, early daily shrinkage measured between 0900 and 1200 hours solar time (EDS), and late daily shrinkage that occurred between 1200 hours solar time and the moment that minimum trunk diameter was reached (typically 1600 hours solar time). The most sensitive [highest ratio of signal intensity (SI) to noise] indices to water stress were Ψstem and EDS. The SI of EDS was greater than that of Ψstem, although with greater variability. EDS was a better index than MDS, with higher SI and similar variability. Although MDS was linearly related to Ψstem down to −1.5 MPa, it decreased thereafter with increasing water stress. In contrast, EDS was linearly related to Ψstem, although the slope of the regression decreased as the season progressed, as in the case of MDS. Further studies are needed to determine whether EDS is a sensitive index of water stress in a range of species.