Impacts of water stress, environment and rootstock on the diurnal behaviour of stem water potential and leaf conductance in pistachio (Pistacia vera L.)

Houssem Memmi, Jose F. Couceiro, Carmen Gijón, David Pérez-López


Little information is available on the diurnal behaviour of water potential and leaf conductance on pistachio trees despite their relevance to fine tune irrigation strategies. Mature pistachio trees were subject to simultaneous measurements of stem water potential (Ψx) and leaf conductance (gl) during the day, at three important periods of the irrigation season. Trees were grown on three different rootstocks and water regimes. An initial baseline relating Ψx to air vapor pressure deficit (VPD) is presented for irrigation scheduling in pistachio. Ψx was closely correlated with VPD but with a different fit according to the degree of water stress. No evidence of the variation of Ψx in relation to the phenology of the tree was observed. Furthermore, midday Ψx showed more accuracy to indicate a situation of water stress than predawn water potential. Under well irrigated conditions, gl was positively correlated with VPD during stage II of growth reaching its peak when VPD reached its maximum value (around 4 kPa). This behaviour changed during stage III of fruit growth suggesting a reliance of stomatal behaviour to the phenological stage independently to the tree water status. The levels of water stress reached were translated in a slow recovery of tree water status and leaf conductance (more than 40 days). Regarding rootstocks, P. integerrima showed little adaptation to water shortage compared to the two other rootstocks under the studied conditions.


diurnal pattern; Pistacia atlantica; Pistacia integerrima; Pistacia terebinthus; water stress recovery

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016142-8207