Decline in Water Uptake by Irrigated Cotton During Boll Filling, and its Amelioration by Daily Drip Irrigation
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AbstractIn 1984,1985, and 1986, leaf water potentials of irrigated cotton declined markedly as the crop approached cutout. Midday transpiration rates also declined, indicating a water-stressed condition. The water stress occurred despite the fact that measurements were made only when the soil was fully charged with water. In 1986, plant hydraulic conductances were estimated. The conductance was high early in the season, declined to a low value during cutout, and increased during regrowth to the high value of the early season. It is suggested that root length and efficiency of water uptake, or both, decrease during boll filling as most assimilates are partitioned into the bolls. Daily drip irrigation prevented this susceptibility to stress during boll filling. In 1984 and 1986, drip irrigation decreased the length and severity of cutout, resulting in an increased boll load at the end of the season.