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Planta

, Volume 234, Issue 5, pp 1045–1054 | Cite as

Shifts in xylem vessel diameter and embolisms in grafted apple trees of differing rootstock growth potential in response to drought

  • Taryn L. Bauerle
  • Michela Centinari
  • William L. Bauerle
Original Article

Abstract

We investigated responses of plant growth rate, hydraulic resistance, and xylem cavitation in scion-rootstock-combinations of Malus domestica L. cv. Honeycrisp scions grafted onto a high-shoot vigor (HSV) rootstock, (semi-dwarfing Malling111), or onto a low-shoot vigor (LSV) rootstock, (dwarfing Budagovsky 9), in response to substrate moisture limitation. Adjustments in xylem vessel diameter and frequency were related to hydraulic resistance measurements for high- versus low- vigor apple trees. We observed a greater tolerance to water deficit in the high-shoot compared to the low-shoot vigor plants under water deficit as evidenced by increased growth in several plant organs, and greater scion anatomical response to limited water availability with ca. 25% increased vessel frequency and ca. 28% narrower current season xylem ring width. Whereas water limitation resulted in greater graft union hydraulic resistance of high-shoot vigor trees, the opposite was true when water was not limiting. The graft union of the low-shoot vigor rootstock exhibited higher hydraulic resistance under well-watered conditions. Scions of high-shoot vigor rootstocks had fewer embolisms at low plant water status compared to scions of low-shoot vigor rootstocks, presumably as a result of large differences in xylem vessel diameter. Our results demonstrated that anatomical differences were related to shifts in hydraulic conductivity and cavitation events, a direct result of grafting, under limited soil water.

Keywords

Hydraulic resistance Water stress Xylem anatomy Malus domestica Rootstock Cavitation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank, S. Cummins for plant material and grafting services; V. Pagay, B. Emmett, A. Paya, M. Smith, and M. Goebel for their help with plant harvesting and hydraulic resistance measurements; M. Tyree for advice and discussions on hydraulic resistance methodology; M. Goffinet for advice on microtechnique; C. Soudant-Daugherty for Cryo-SEM technique; M. van Iersel, and J. Sparks for the use of high pressure flow meter and gas exchange equipment; and three anonymous reviewers for improvement of this publication. The investigation was supported by the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station.

Supplementary material

425_2011_1460_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (21 kb)
Online Resource 1 (PDF 22 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Taryn L. Bauerle
    • 1
  • Michela Centinari
    • 1
  • William L. Bauerle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HorticultureCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Horticulture & Landscape ArchitectureColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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