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Waterlogging affects tme water relations of wheat leaves

J.N.L. Lee and C.J. Bell

School of Agriculture, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083.

Waterlogging is a major problem for wheat-growers in northern Victoria during the winter, where heavy soils restrict water movement. Mence, it is important to understand the physiological effects of waterlogging and to encourage plant growth during this period. Leaf water potential (LWP) is one of the parameters which can be employed to study the effects of waterlogging on wheat.


A field trial using wheat cultivar Rosella (seed rate 100 kg/ha) was sown on 27/5/88 onto undrained and drained (5m x 2m) plots (3 replicates) on Hallam loam soil (pH 5.5) at La Trobe University Agricultural Reserve. A combination of agricultural pipes and gypsum slots were used for drainage. Three leaves (the third fully-expanded) were sampled from each replicate at 1100h once per week from 30/6/88 to 18/8/88 for the measurement of LWP using a pressure bomb. Results were analyzed by analysis of variance.

Results and discussion

The figure 1 shows that there were large variations in LWP from harvest to harvest depending on rainfall,as indicate by the soil water potential (SWP) measurements (see figure 2) during the period. There were significant effects due to harvest date and an interaction between date and drainage. The lack of significant between drained and undrained plots was unexpected since there was a noticeable difference in growth between these treatments.

Fig. 1. Mean LWP data from the experiments are plotted as follows.

Fig. 2. Mean SWP data for the sampling period.

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