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Crop Science Abstract -

Water Status and Leaf Area Production in Water- and Nitrogen-Stressed Cotton


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 36 No. 5, p. 1224-1233
    Received: Apr 26, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): cj-fernandez@tamu.edu
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  1. C. J. Fernáandez ,
  2. K. J. McInnes and
  3. J. T. Cothren
  1. Texas A&M Univ. Agric. Res. and Ext. Center, Uvalde, TX 78801



The combined effects of water and N deficits on leaf area production and water relations in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) have not been investigated thoroughly. A study was conducted to evaluate the responses of leaf area production and water relations in cotton plants exposed to water and N deficits during the preflowering stage. Two N treatments-nutrient solution with 12 mM of N (N-supplied) and N-free nutrient solution (N-starved)-were applied to plants when the third true leaf was visible. Two irrigation treatments-daily irrigation (well watered) and no irrigation (water stressed)-were superimposed on each N treatment once the plants were moved into the test chambers when they reached a leaf area of 0.050 ± 0.002 m2. Leaf area and leaf water and osmotic potentials were measured at the end of each day-time period. Under well-watered conditions, leaf turgor potential in N-starved plants was about 0.3 kJ kg−1 lower than in N-supplied plants. When plants were exposed to water deficits, the decline of leaf water potential relative to soil water content was greater in N-starved plants than in N-supplied plants. Nitrogen deficiency delayed and decreased the magnitude of osmotic potential adjustment and, therefore, reduced the capacity of leaves to maintain turgor. Water and N deficits decreased whole-plant cumulative leaf area about 50 and 40%, respectively, through decreased daily production of mainstem and branch leaves and decreased final area of individual mainstem and branch leaves. Nitrogen deficiency induced a higher sensitivity of leaf growth inhibition to water deficits.

Technical Article reporting research conducted by the Texas Agric. Exp. Stn., The Texas A&M University System.

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