Effects of partial root-zone irrigation on hydraulic conductivity in the soil-root system of maize plants

Tiantian Hu, Shaozhong Kang*, Fusheng Li, Jianhua ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Effects of partial root-zone irrigation (PRI) on the hydraulic conductivity in the soil-root system (Lsr) in different root zones were investigated using a pot experiment. Maize plants were raised in split-root containers and irrigated on both halves of the container (conventional irrigation, CI), on one side only (fixed PRI, FPRI), or alternately on one of two sides (alternate PRI, APRI). Results show that crop water consumption was significantly correlated with Lsr in both the whole and irrigated root zones for all three irrigation methods but not with Lsr in the non-irrigated root zone of FPRI. The total L sr in the irrigated root zone of two PRIs was increased by 49.0-92.0% compared with that in a half root zone of CI, suggesting that PRI has a significant compensatory effect of root water uptake. For CI, the contribution of Lsr in a half root zone to Lsr in the whole root zone was ∼50%. For FPRI, the Lsr in the irrigated root zone was close to that of the whole root zone. As for APRI, the Lsr in the irrigated root zone was greater than that of the non-irrigated root zone. In comparison, the Lsr in the non-irrigated root zone of APRI was much higher than that in the dried zone of FPRI. The L sr in both the whole and irrigated root zones was linearly correlated with soil moisture in the irrigated root zone for all three irrigation methods. For the two PRI treatments, total water uptake by plants was largely determined by the soil water in the irrigated root zone. Nevertheless, the non-irrigated root zone under APRI also contributed to part of the total crop water uptake, but the continuously non-irrigated root zone under FPRI gradually ceased to contribute to crop water uptake, suggesting that it is the APRI that can make use of all the root system for water uptake, resulting in higher water use efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4163-4172
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Volume62
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Crop water consumption
  • hydraulic conductivity in soil-root system (L )
  • partial root-zone irrigation
  • soil moisture
  • soil water uptake

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