Journal Of Applied Horticulture ISSN: 0972-1045


S.O. Agele

Department of Crop, Soil & Pest Management, Federal University of Technology, PMB 704, Akure, Nigeria

Key words: Bell pepper, fertigation, hydraulics, stomata, canopy, leaf potential, water uptake

Journal of Applied Horticulture, 2007, volume 9, issue 1, pages 56-61.

Abstract: The effect of fertigation regimes on water transport properties (soil, plant and canopy resistances) through the plant to the canopy in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere-Continuum (SPAC) was studied in bell pepper in a Mediterranean climate. The treatments consisted of fertigated drip irrigation in factorial combinations of three levels (amounts) of water application (daily, twice and once weekly) and application frequencies (2, 6 and 10 times per fertigation event). Leaf water potential and stomatal conductance were monitored while whole plant hydraulic conductance was estimated by the evaporative flux method, using the Ohm's law analogy (the slope of the water potential difference (Ay) versus sap fluxes). Canopy conductance (inverse of resistance) was estimated from vapour pressure deficit (vpd) and transpiration flux. Differences in the intervals between fertigation events altered the environment for root development and affected soil moisture status, stomatal conductance (gs), leaf water potential (lwp), transpiration (sap) flux, and xylem and canopy water transport capacities in bell pepper. The components of the resistance elements in the SPAC differed under the fertigation treatments. Total plant resistance (Rp) increased with transpiration flux in a linear manner in addition to a proportional decrease in stomatal (gs) and canopy conductance (gc). Canopy component constitutes the least resistance (greatest conductance) to the flow of water, estimated soil resistance was much lower than total resistance to the flow of water, and the highest within plant resistance is contained in the root system which constituted a predominant part of total plant resistance. Bell pepper has an efficient xylem sap transport system, maintains gs and plant water status under variable soil moisture regimes. Bell pepper water use is affected by soil environment, plant architectural and xylem traits. The mechanisms underlying differences in water use and plasticity of physiological functions in bell pepper under variable fertigation regimes appeared to be offered through changes in the magnitudes of component resistances of the water transport pathways in the SPAC. The implications of knowledge of the magnitudes of the resistances to water flow pathway in the SPAC to irrigation management is discussed.

Journal of Applied Horticulture