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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 3, p. 499-503
    Received: July 25, 1975

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Corn Plant Water Stress as Influenced by Chiseling, Irrigation, and Water Table Depth1

  1. D. C. Reicosky,
  2. R. B. Campbell and
  3. C. W. Doty2



Improved plant water status through improved soil and water management practices can result in efficient crop production and water utilization in the compact layered soils that restrict rooting in the Southeast. The effect of chiseling and irrigation on plant water status was evaluated through leaf water potential, stem diameter, and stomatal resistance measurements. Corn (Zea mays L.) was grown on a Varina sandy loam (Typic Paleudult) chiseled to 38 cm and compared with that grown on conventionally tilled plots. In 1972 chiseling had no measurable effect on the daily minimum leaf water potential under the same radiant energy level. At tasseling in 1973, with a water table 80 cm from the surface, chiseling resulted in deeper-rooted corn that enabled utilization of water in the capillary fringe above the water table, and resulted in slightly higher (less negative) daily minimum leaf water potential, lower stomatal resistance, and smaller stem diameter fluctuations. In 1973, plant-water status on chiseled plots was comparable with that on furrow-irrigated plots. The cumulative effects of the small improvement in midday plant water status from chiseling resulted in a 8-metric ton/ha increase in corn ear yields. These findings suggest chiseling of soils with root restricting layers can result in increased corn production, particularly when the water table is approximately 80 cm from the soil surface at tasseling.

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