Diurnal variations in water relations of deficit irrigated lemon trees during fruit growth period

  • Y. García-Orellana Dpto. Ingeniería Agrícola, Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado (UCLA), Barquisimeto (Venezuela)
  • M. F. Ortuño Dpto. Riego, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), P. O. Box. 164, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia
  • W. Conejero Dpto. Riego, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), P. O. Box. 164, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia
  • M. C. Ruiz-Sanchez Dpto. Riego, Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), P. O. Box. 164, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia
Keywords: Citrus limon, leaf conductance, leaf water potential, maximum daily trunk shrinkage, net photosynthesis, sap flow, stem water potential


Field-grown lemon trees (Citrus limon (L.) Burm. fil. cv. Fino) were subjected to different drip irrigation treatments: a control treatment, irrigated daily above crop water requirements in order to obtain non-limiting soil water conditions and two deficit irrigation treatments, reducing the water applied according to the maximum daily trunk shrinkage (MDS) signal intensity (actual MDS/control treatment MDS) threshold values of 1.25 (T1 treatment) and 1.35 (T2 treatment), which induced two different drought stress levels. Daily variations in leaf (Yleaf) and stem (Ystem) water potentials, leaf conductance, net photosynthesis, sap flow (SF) and trunk diameter fluctuations were studied on four occasions during the lemon fruit growth period. Ystem and Yleaf revealed a diurnal pattern in response to changes in evaporative demand of the atmosphere. Both water potentials decreased in response to water deficits, which were more pronounced in the T2 treatment. Ystem was seen to be a better plant water status indicator than Yleaf. The difference between the two values of Y (Ystem - Yleaf  = DY) was closely correlated with sap flow, making it a suitable measure of leaf transpiration. Using the slope of this relationship, the canopy hydraulic conductance (KC) was estimated. When other continuously recorded plant-based indicators are not accessible, the concurrent measurement of leaf and stem water potentials at midday, which are relatively inexpensive to measure and user-friendly, act as sufficiently good indicators of the plant water status in field grown Fino lemon trees.


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How to Cite
García-OrellanaY., OrtuñoM. F., ConejeroW., & Ruiz-SanchezM. C. (2013). Diurnal variations in water relations of deficit irrigated lemon trees during fruit growth period. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 11(1), 137-145. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2013111-3153
Plant physiology