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Reference: The water use and growth response of grapevines to extreme temperature events
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Heatwaves are an increasingly common climatic extreme event that can potentially affect agricultural productivity. Intensively managed agricultural systems often increase irrigation prior to and during heatwaves. The aim of this study was to further advance an understanding of plant water use, via sap flow measurements, and growth response, using dendrometer measurements, under high irrigation to an extreme climatic event. Several cultivars of grapevines from the Riverina region of Australia were measured over the austral growing season of 2018–2019. There were 19 days of extreme temperature where the hottest recorded temperature was 44.4 °C and a vapour pressure deficit (VPD) of 8.2 kPa. Sap flow did not decline and there were no negative effects on plant water use with extreme temperature. There was inconclusive evidence on the effect of extreme heat on trunk dynamics via dendrometers. Rather, trunk daily growth followed seasonal patterns widely observed on grapevines. Diurnal sap flow was strongly driven by relative humidity. Night-time sap flow was significantly higher on extreme versus mild temperature days and was correlated with a combination of temperature, relative humidity and wind speed. It is likely that increased sap flow at extreme temperature caused a canopy transpirational cooling effect. Our study supports the hypothesis that plant water use and growth is not noticeably affected by extreme temperature when soil moisture is high under well-irrigated conditions.

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Publication Details

Published: 2021
Publication: Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology
Issue: 2021 Online May 2021
Author: Forster M A 2021

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