Boron and salinity effects on grafted and non-grafted melon plants

M. Edelstein, M. Ben-Hur, R. Cohen, Y. Burger, I. Ravina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations

Abstract

Production of melon (Cucumis melo) may be limited by excesses of boron and salinity, and it was hypothesized that melon grafted onto Cucurbita rootstock would be more tolerant to excessive boron concentrations than non-grafted plants. The objectives of this study were (i) to determine the effects of salinity and excessive boron concentrations in irrigation water on growth and yields of grafted and non-grafted melon plants; and (ii) to study the interaction between the effects of salinity and boron on the uptake of macroelements and boron by grafted and non-grafted melon plants. The plants were grown in pots of Perlite in a greenhouse. The combined effects of boron and salinity on growth and yield were investigated for five boron concentrations, ranging from 0.2 to 10 mg L- 1, and two salinity levels, electrical conductivity (EC) 1.8 and 4.6 dS m- 1, in the irrigation water. With low salinity the boron concentrations in old leaves of non-grafted and grafted plants ranged from 249 to 2827 and from 171 to 1651 mg kg- 1 dry weight, respectively; with high salinity the corresponding concentrations ranged from 192 to 2221 and from 200 to 1263 mg kg- 1 dry weight, respectively. These results indicate that the grafted plants accumulated less boron than the non-grafted plants when they were exposed to similar boron concentrations, and that both plant types absorbed less boron when irrigated with the more saline irrigation water. It is suggested that: (i) the Cucurbita rootstock excluded some boron and that this, in turn, decreased the boron concentration in the grafted plants; and (ii) the low boron uptake under high-salinity irrigation was mainly a result of reduced transpiration of the plants. Significant negative linear regressions were found between fruit yield and leaf boron concentration for grafted plants, under both low and high salinity levels, and for non-grafted plants under low salinity. The fruit yield of the grafted plants was less affected by boron accumulation in the leaves than that of non-grafted plants. Increasing the water salinity decreased the sensitivity of both plant types to increases in leaf boron concentration, which indicates that the effects of boron and salinity on melon plants were not additive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume269
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Boron tolerance
  • Cucumis melo
  • Foliar injury
  • Grafting
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

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