University of California

Responses of a plant to soil-moisture changes as shown by guayule


F. J. Veihmeyer
A. H. Hendrickson

Authors Affiliations

F. J. Veihmeyer was Professor of Irrigation and Irrigation Engineer, Emeritus, Davis; A. H. Hendrickson was Pomologist, Emeritus, in the Experiment Station, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 30(20):621-637. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v30n20p621. May 1961.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


From March, 1943, to April, 1946, field and tank studies on responses of guayule to different soil-moisture conditions were conducted at Davis, California.

Three types of treatment were begun in the spring of the second season: irrigation when the soil moisture in the top 3 feet was reduced to about 14 per cent; irrigation when the soil moisture was reduced to about the permanent wilting percentage (PWP); and no irrigation.

Results from the final sampling of the field plots when the crop was harvested showed clearly that the irrigated treatments produced larger plants than the unirrigated plots which were allowed to remain at the PWP for a long period. In rubber content, the lowest percentage was found in the treatment where the soil moisture was kept relatively high. The treatment in which the soil moisture was reduced to a much lower level several times during the season produced slightly, but not significantly, larger plants and a significantly higher percentage of rubber than did the treatment in which a relatively high moisture content was maintained. All treatments increased markedly in percentage of rubber during the winter. The unirrigated treatment produced the highest rubber content of all.

Results in the tank tests were in agreement with those in the field. The largest plants were produced in the tanks in which the soil moisture was allowed to be reduced to about the PWP, but not to remain there for an appreciable time. Maintenance of the moisture above a high level by frequent irrigations did not increase the growth of plants over those in the drier soil.

The data presented indicate that soil moisture between the field capacity and the PWP is readily available to guayule plants.

Literature Cited

Baver L. D. Soil physics (3d ed. 1956. New York: John Wiley &; Sons.

Benedict H. M. Factors affecting the accumulation of rubber in seedling guayule plants. Bot. Gaz. 1950. 112:86-95. DOI: 10.1086/335629 [CrossRef]

Benedict H. M., McRary W. L., Slattery M. C. Response of guayule to alternating periods of low and high moisture stresses. Bot. Gaz. 1947. 108:535-49. DOI: 10.1086/335441 [CrossRef]

Halkias N. A., Veihmeyer F. J., Hendrickson A. H. Determining water needs for crops from climatic data. Hilgardia. 1955. 24(9):207-33. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v24n09p207 [CrossRef]

Hunter A. S., Kelley Omer J. The growth and rubber content of guayule as affected by variations in soil moisture stresses. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 1946. 38:118-34.

Kelley O. J., Hunter A. S., Hobbs C. H. The effect of moisture stress on nursery-grown guayule with respect to the amount and type of growth and growth response on transplanting. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 1945. 37:194-216.

Richards L. A., Wadleigh C. H. Soil water and plant growth 1952. pp.73-251. In: Soil physical conditions and plant growth. Amer. Soc. Agron. Monograph II:

Tingey D. C. Effect of spacing, irrigation, and fertilization on rubber production in guayule sown directly in the field. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 1952. 44:298-302. DOI: 10.2134/agronj1952.00021962004400060003x [CrossRef]

Tingey D. C., Foote W. H. Effect of irrigation on the resumption of growth of guayule transplants. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 1946. 38:896-904.

Tingey D. C., Foote Wilson. Effect of plant spacing, free irrigation, and fertilization on rubber production during the winter in 1-year-old guayule. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron. 1947. 39:234-39.

Traub H. P., Slattery M. C., McRary W. L. The effect of moisture stress on nursery-grown guayule with reference to changes in reserve carbohydrates. Amer. Jour. Bot. 1946. 33:699-705. DOI: 10.2307/2437495 [CrossRef]

Veihmeyer F. J. Soil moisture. Handbuch der Planzenphysiologie, Bd. 1956. III:64-123. DOI: 10.1097/00010694-197210000-00006 [CrossRef]

Veihmeyer F. J., Hendrickson A. H. Soil moisture in relation to plant growth. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. 1950. 1:285-304. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.pp.01.060150.001441 [CrossRef]

Veihmeyer F. J., Hendrickson A. H. Use of black and white atmometers for measuring the use of water by crops, evaporation and solar energy 1957. International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage. Third Congress, San Francisco, California, 1957.

Wadleigh C. H., Gauch H. G., Magistad O. C. Growth and rubber accumulation in guayule as conditioned by soil salinity and irrigation regime. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bul. 1946. 925:

Veihmeyer F, Hendrickson A. 1961. Responses of a plant to soil-moisture changes as shown by guayule. Hilgardia 30(20):621-637. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v30n20p621
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu