Effects of Grafting On Nutrient Uptake By Cucurbits Irrigated With Water of Different Qualities

Authored by: Menahem Edelstein , Meni Ben-Hur

Handbook of Cucurbits

Print publication date:  February  2016
Online publication date:  February  2016

Print ISBN: 9781482234589
eBook ISBN: 9781482234596
Adobe ISBN:


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Vegetable plant grafting is an old practice, with grafting of cucurbitaceous plants dating back to the seventeenth century. The primary motivation for the grafting of vegetable plants is to prevent damage caused by soil-borne pests and pathogens. However, grafted plants also exhibit changes in nutrient absorption and translocation. Cucurbits are grown mainly under irrigation, and the quality of the irrigation water (e.g., freshwater [FW], saline water, or treated wastewater [TWW]) can differ with the region. This chapter, therefore, focuses on the effects of cucurbit plant grafting on nutrient uptake under irrigation with various water qualities. Many studies have shown that under FW irrigation, the grafting of vegetable plants onto suitable rootstocks can increase the absorption and translocation of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) to the plants, resulting in a higher yield. However, the mechanisms responsible for this increase in nutrient content in grafted plant shoots are still not completely known. It has been suggested that the main factor controlling the tolerance of grafted plants to low K concentration is the rootstock’s high efficiency at absorbing K and translocating it to the shoot, rather than higher utilization of K. In contrast, the effects of plant grafting on nutrient uptake under irrigation with saline water and TWW have only been investigated in a few studies; under these conditions, the effects of grafting on nutrient absorption are more complex. In a field experiment under irrigation with a drip system, an interactive effect was found between plant grafting and water qualities (FW and TWW) on the content of some nutrients in the plants shoots. In other field experiments, it was found that under irrigation with saline water, the contents of magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn) are significantly lower in the leaves of grafted versus nongrafted melon plants.

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