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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of the Soil and Plant Water Potentials on the Dry Matter Production of Snap Beans1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 64 No. 5, p. 559-562
    Received: Mar 5, 1971

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  1. A. A. Millar and
  2. W. R. Gardner2



The need for greater plant yields and more efficient use of water makes it essential that the relations between soil-water content, soil-water potential, transpiration rate, and plant response be made ever more quantitative.

The dry matter production rate of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L., var. Bush Blue Lake) growing under field conditions on a sandy soil is analyzed during a drying period.

Measurements of plant- and soil-water potentials, dry matter accumulation, and stomatal resistance were made as soil-water was depleted, while the transpiration rates were obtained by a model for a loosely structured canopy.

The transpiration and dry matter production rates decreased curvilinearly with soil-water potential. When the soil-water potential decreased from −0.28 to −0.40 bar, there was 47% reduction in the dry matter production rate. This is related to the turgor pressure-operated stomatal mechanism. The adaxial stomatal resistances increased at leaf-water potentials lower than −8 bars, which coincided with a rapid decrease in the dry matter production rate. It was found that stomatal closure due to water stress resulted in a greater reduction of growth rate than in transpiration.

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