An irrigation experiment was conducted on young kiwifruit vines over two seasons to examine effects of water stress on fruit development. Vines were grown outdoors in a sandy, rooting medium enclosed within a polythene-lined trench with removable surface covers to enable strict control of the water supply. Measurements of fruit growth, leaf water potential, and stomatal conductance were made throughout the season in conjunction with periods of water stress imposed at different times, and for varying durations. Fruit development was very responsive to water stress with mean fruit size per vine at harvest varying from 60 to 130 cm3 as a result of various stress treatments. Fruit expansion ceased when predawn leaf water potentials fell below -0.1 MPa. Upon rewatering, leaf turgor was regained within 24 h even after severe, prolonged stress. Any turgor loss associated with fruit softening was quickly made up, and thereafter fruit growth continued at the same rate concurrently exhibited on continuously well-watered vines. Suggesting that stomatal conductance did not follow the rapid recovery of leaf water potentials and fruit expansion may be more closely linked to water supply than to the concurrent rate of photosynthesis. Despite the large range in mean fruit size, the shape of the fruit size distribution at harvest was not affected by water stress and it is concluded that harvest yields can be adequately modelled by assuming a normal distribution with a fixed standard deviation.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1989|