The effects of sodium chloride on ornamental shrubs

Cassaniti, Carla, Leonardi, Cherubino and Flowers, Timothy J (2009) The effects of sodium chloride on ornamental shrubs. Scientia Horticulturae, 122 (4). pp. 586-593. ISSN 0304-4238

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The use of saline waters is an option for the irrigation of salt tolerant ornamentals as competition for high quality water increases. However, despite the importance of ornamental shrubs in Mediterranean areas, salt tolerance of such species has received little attention. The aims of our investigation were to quantify the growth response and any injury symptom of 12 widely cultivated ornamental shrubs to irrigation with saline water and to investigate any possible relation with the concentration of Na(+) and Cl(-) in the plants. Species were irrigated with different salinities (10, 40, and 70 mM NaCl) for a 120-day period. At the end of salt treatment, plants were sampled and dry biomass recorded; the relative growth rate (RGR) was also calculated. Root and leaf samples from each species were used to evaluate Na(+), K(+) and Cl(-) concentrations. Growth rates were significantly reduced in Cotoneaster lacteus, Grevillea juniperina and Pyracantha 'Harlequin'. which also showed the highest percentage of necrotic leaves. The increasing external NaCl lead to an increase of Na(+) and Cl(-) in roots and leaves of the different species, although less Na(+) was accumulated than Cl(-): growth reduction well correlated with the concentration of Cl(-) and/or Na(+) in the leaves. The most sensitive species (i.e. C lacteus, G. juniperina and Pyracantha 'Harlequin') had high concentrations of Na(+) and/or Cl(-) in their leaves and also showed a decrease in their leaf K(+)/Na(+) ratios. Even though other species (i.e. Bougainvillea glabra, Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, Leptospermum scoparium, Leucophyllum frutescens and Ruttya fruticosa) demonstrated a high ion concentration in their leaves, they could be considered relatively salt tolerant as there was little growth reduction and few symptoms of injury in the leaves. In some other cases (i.e. Cestrum fasciculatum, Escallonia rubra and Viburnum lucidum) the observed tolerance was related to higher ion concentration in the roots compared to the leaves, probably indicative of a limited transport to the shoots. Only in Eugenia myrtifolia was the absence of symptoms associated with a limited Na(+) and Cl(-) uptake from the rhizosphere. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Times Cited: 6 Cassaniti, Carla Leonardi, Cherubino Flowers, Timothy J.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 22 May 2012 15:43
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 17:12
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