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Root desiccation and drought stress responses of bareroot Quercus rubra seedlings treated with a hydrophilic polymer root dipAuthor(s): Kent G. Apostol; Douglass F. Jacobs; R. Kasten Dumroese
Source: Plant and Soil. 315: 229-240.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionRoot hydrogel, a hydrophilic polymer, has been used to improve transplanting success of bareroot conifer seedlings through effects on water holding capacity. We examined mechanisms by which Terra-sorb Fine Hydrogel reduces damage that occurs when roots of 1-year old, dormant northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.) were subjected to shortterm (1, 3, and 5 h) pre-transplanting desiccation and long-term (45 days) drought stress following transplanting in a controlled environment chamber or greenhouse conditions. Hydrogel-treated seedlings had 80% greater root moisture content than non-root dipped control seedlings following the pre-transplanting desiccation period. Hydrogel reduced root membrane leakiness by 31% 5 h after the desiccation exposure. Hydrogel-treated seedlings did not show greater differences in shoot length, plant dry mass, root volume, net photosynthesis, and stomatal conductance compared with control seedlings following the 45-day drought stress exposure. A reduction in mean number of days to bud break in hydrogel-treated seedlings, combined with delayed tissuemoisture loss (linked to higher stem water potential), suggests that hydrogel may have provided stress protection to aid survival under short-term desiccation, which may be beneficial toward alleviating initial transplanting stress.
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CitationApostol, Kent G.; Jacobs, Douglass F.; Dumroese, R. Kasten. 2009. Root desiccation and drought stress responses of bareroot Quercus rubra seedlings treated with a hydrophilic polymer root dip. Plant and Soil. 315: 229-240.
Keywordsdesiccation, electrolyte leakage, gas exchange, hydrogel, moisture content, northern red oak, stem water potential
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