Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 129, Issue 5, pp 841–851 | Cite as

Extensive investigation of the sap flow of maize plants in an oasis farmland in the middle reach of the Heihe River, Northwest China

  • Liwen Zhao
  • Zhibin He
  • Wenzhi Zhao
  • Qiyue Yang
Regular Paper


A better understanding of the sap flow characteristics of maize plants is critical for improving irrigation water-use efficiency, especially for regions facing water resource shortages. In this study, sap flow rates, related soil-physics and plant-growth parameters, and meteorological factors, were simultaneously monitored in a maize field in two consecutive years, 2011 and 2012, and the sap flow rates of the maize plants were extensively analyzed based on the monitored data. Seasonal and daily variational characteristics were identified at different growth stages and under different weather conditions, respectively. The analyses on the relationships between sap flow rate and reference evapotranspiration (ET0), as well as several plant-growth parameters, indicate that the irrigation schedule can exert an influence on sap flow, and can consequently affect crop yield. The ranking of the main meteorological factors affecting the sap flow rate was: net radiation > air temperature > vapor pressure deficit > wind speed. For a quick estimation of sap flow rates, an empirical formula based on the two top influencing factors was put forward and verified to be reliable. The sap flow rate appeared to show little response to irrigation when the water content was relatively high, implying that some of the irrigation in recent years may have been wasted. These results may help to reveal the bio-physical processes of maize plants related to plant transpiration, which could be beneficial for establishing an efficient irrigation management system in this region and also for providing a reference for other maize-planting regions.


Maize Sap flow Irrigation water Crop yield Meteorology 



This work was supported by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Yong Scholars (Grant No. 41125002) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41271036 and 41501044). The authors greatly appreciate the help from Dr. Ji XB and Dr. Jin BW in carrying out the experiments. Many thanks also go to the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liwen Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhibin He
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenzhi Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qiyue Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Linze Inland River Basin Research StationChinese Ecosystem Network ResearchLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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