Journal of Environmental Horticulture
Horticultural Research Institute
Growth and water relations of irrigated and non-irrigated Malus sieboldii var. zumi produced with and without in-ground fabric containers in a field-nursery setting were investigated. Predawn and midday leaf water potential and midday stomatal conductance were measured periodically through the season, and trunk increment, leaf area, root growth, and osmotic potential were measured in late season. Water potential became more negative and stomatal conductance decreased in non-irrigated treatments during an extended mid-summer drought that resulted in less trunk diameter gorwth and leaf area. Trees grwon in fabric-containers, both irrigated and non-irrigated, exhibited no detectable differences in water relations over the season. These trees did have fewer roots and less leaf area than the trees grown without fabric containers, indicating that in-ground fabric containers can limit growth even when irrigated. Non-irrigated trees in fabric containers were nonetheless affected by water stress as they had the least trunk growth and most negative osmotic potential of all treatments. Careful management practices would suggest increased irrigation frequency during production with in-ground fabric containers to avoid water stress.
Kjelgren, R., C. Spihlman, and B. R. Cleveland. 1994. Effect of irrigation on crabapple growth and water relations during field production with in-ground fabric containers. J. Environ. Hort. 108-111.