Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Geneve

Abstract

Water use is an important topic in the global agriculture community and is a critical input in nursery crop production. Several plants in the genus Cornus are important nursery crops. Not only are they economically relevant, they are found in grafted and seedling forms and parents and their hybrid are readily available in the trade, facilitating an assessment of water requirements. Anecdotal information suggests that Cornus taxa have differing stress tolerance and water use requirements. Research was conducted to characterize and model water use among Cornus taxa. Scanning electron microscopy and anatomy‐based micromorphological studies as well as transpiration chamber‐based studies revealed differences in the cuticle, epidermal thickness, stomatal density, total stomatal complex area, and gas exchange. A novel photosynthesis‐based irrigation model was developed and evaluated, first on a model crop, Hibiscus rosa‐sinensis, then with a range of Cornus taxa, including grafted specimens. The model allowed the identification of a setpoint or point at which irrigation is triggered. Producing plants under this model allowed a 27% reduction in water use while maintain growth when compared with controls.

Included in

Horticulture Commons

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