Optimization of transpiration and potential growth rates of 'Kardinal' rose with respect to root-zone physical properties

M. Raviv*, J. H. Lieth, D. W. Burger, R. Wallach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Physical characteristics of two media were studied concerning water availability to roots, as reflected in specific transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, and specific growth rate of very young leaflets of 'Kardinal' rose (Rosa xhybrida L.), grafted on Rosa canina L. 'Natal Brier'. Plants were grown in UC mix [42% composted fir bark, 33% peat, and 25% sand (by volume)] or in coconut coir. Water release curves of the media were developed and hydraulic conductivities were calculated. Irrigation pulses were actuated according to predetermined media moisture tensions. Transpiration rate of plants was measured gravimetrically using load cells. Specific transpiration rate (STR) was calculated from these data and leaf area. STR and stomatal conductance were also determined using a steady-state porometer. Specific growth rate (RSG) of young leaflets was calculated from the difference between metabolic heat rate and respiration rate, which served as an indicator for growth potential. Low STR values found at tensions between 0 and 1.5 kPa in UC mix suggest this medium has insufficient free air space for proper root activity within this range. Above 2.3 kPa, unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of UC mix was lower than that of coif, possibly lowering STR values of UC mix-grown plants. As a result of these two factors, STR of plants grown in coir was 20% to 30% higher than that of plants grown in UC mix. STR of coir-grown plants started to decline only at tensions around 4.5 kPa. Yield (number of flowers produced) by coir-grown plants was 19% higher than UC mix-grown plants. This study demonstrated the crucial role of reaching sufficient air-filled porosity in the medium shortly after irrigation. It also suggests that hydraulic conductivity is a more representative measure of water availability than tension.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Metabolic heat rate
  • Microcalorimetry
  • Potential growth
  • Respiration rate
  • Rosa xhybrida
  • Transpiration


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