Soil Water Content Directly Affects Bud Burst Rate in Single-Node Cuttings of Perennial Plants

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The use of single-node cuttings of shoots as explants to study bud dormancy and its physiology under controlled conditions is a common practice in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) or other perennial plant research. In particular, this method has been extensively used to understand the effect of different chemicals on bud dormancy and bud burst. However, the soil water content in those experiments is usually not reported and its relevance is often neglected. Here, we observed that an unevenly distributed soil water content in a tray containing multiple explants results in an uneven pattern of bud burst within the same treatment. Thus, we hypothesised that soil water content can dramatically affect bud burst. To investigate this, we first established that fresh single-node cuttings were able to transport water into the buds. We then tested the rate of bud burst at different water treatments (35%, 55%, 70%, 85%, and 100% of field capacity; FC). We observed a clear dependence of bud burst on water, in which, at very low levels of water, bud burst does not occur; after 35% FC, bud burst rate increases with water content until around 85% FC; and, from 85% FC, bud burst rate becomes independent of water content. These data highlight the critical importance of monitoring soil water content in any bud burst assay in perennials. Finally, we provide a detailed protocol for determining and controlling field capacity and other soil water content indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number360
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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