Involvement of rootstocks and their hydraulic conductance in the drought resistance of grafted rubber trees
Improving drought resistance of rubber trees has become a pressing issue with the extension of rubber plantations and the prevalence of seasonal drought. Root system is vital to water and nutrients uptake of all plants, therefore, rootstocks could play decisive roles in drought resistance of grafted rubber trees on a specific scion clone. To investigate the responses of different clone rootstocks and their grafted trees to water stress and find applicable methods for selecting drought resistant rootstocks, seven related parameters and root hydraulic properties of both seeds originated and grafted saplings of PB86, PR107, RRIM600 and GT1 were measured to assess their drought resistance. It was shown that the rootstock drought resistance and root hydraulic conductance may improve the drought resistance of the grafted rubber trees. Among the four clone rootstocks, GT1, which demonstrated more resistant to drought and higher root hydraulic conductance, was comparatively resistant to drought both for the seed propagation seedlings and grafted saplings. In addition, studies on the grafted saplings with different root hydraulic conductance further validated the possibility of selecting drought resistant rootstocks on the basis of rootstock hydraulic conductance using a high-pressure flow meter.
Key words: Rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), rootstock, hydraulic conductance, drought resistance, highpressure flow meter.