Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Transpiration of young cocoa trees under soil water restriction

Fraga Junior, Luciano SobralVellame, Lucas MeloOliveira, Aureo Silva dePaz, Vital Pedro da Silva

Cocoa plantations in Brazil have been expanding beyond the borders of traditional regions by implementing a strategy based on irrigation and the establishment of crops exposed to full sunlight. The quantification of transpiration is essential to the establishment and management of crops, and is the main factor in the determination of water demand. This study had as its objective the estimating of transpiration of young cocoa trees as a function of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and soil matric potential (Ψw). Two experiments were conducted, one in a greenhouse and the other in the field, using clones and seminal plants. Soil water content, plant transpiration and reference evapotranspiration were monitored. Cocoa trees were subjected to soil moisture reduction and their transpiration decreased linearly both in the field and in the greenhouse, due to decreases in the soil matric potential beyond a critical point. In the greenhouse average transpiration could be linearly estimated as a function of ETo when Ψw was higher than –24.89 kP. Drying soil conditions resulted in a reduction in transpiration by approximately a 2 % per unit decrease in Ψw. Under field conditions; clonal plant transpiration decreased linearly beyond the critical matric potential of –65.02 kPa, while in seminal plants this reduction occurred beyond –79.48 kPa. Clonal plants were more sensitive to soil water variations with average transpiration lower than that of seminal cocoa tree plants.(AU)

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