Responses to salinity of grapevine plants with split root systems


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Grape yield, shoot and root vigour and water use by grapevine plants with split root systems were investigated. Some plants had both root parts continuously irrigated either with fresh or with saline water. Some plants got a dual treatment; one portion got fresh water and the other saline water. The irrigation water of a third group was changed during the experiment from fresh to saline water or vice versa. Fruit yield and root and shoot viability were positively correlated with the actual water use. Water ascent along the stem of the grapevines was found to be sectorial. Most of the water was supplied by the freshwater roots. Only small quantities of water were supplied by salt‐affected roots to their respective twigs. Changes in the water quality of the root medium induced a dual effect: (a) a fast response, caused by the direct change in the ambient w7ater potential; and (b) a long‐term response that developed over several weeks. The latter response was induced by the development of new roots, or by death of others, upon a change in the quality of the irrigation water. The commonly used grapevine plants of the Arava valley are negatively affected by NaCl already at concentrations below 100 mM. Under such conditions, shoot growth and fruit yield were seriously inhibited, even when one part only of the root system was exposed to saline water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993


  • Vitis vinifera (grapevine)
  • saline irrigation
  • sectorial stem
  • split roots
  • water ascent
  • water use


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