A method for evaluation of temporal changes in canopy transpiration rate and stomatal conductance in crop fields by using a plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) has recently been developed. The method was applied to a corn canopy at different growth stages in the upper Yellow River basin, China. Diurnal changes in the canopy transpiration rate and stomatal conductance were evaluated at the initial stage with a leaf area index (LAI) of 0.37 on June 7 and the crop development stage with an LAI of 4.39 on July 15, 2005. The proportions of the accumulated transpiration rate during daytime to the accumulated evapotranspiration were 24% and 74% at the initial and crop development stages, respectively. Stomatal conductance varied in parallel with transpiration rate in the initial stage of the crop. However, in the crop development stage with low soil water content, stomatal conductance reached the maximum value at 10:00 a.m. and thereafter decreased rapidly at around noon with high evaporative demand to corn canopy. This shows the midday stomatal closure was caused by excessive water stress to corn canopy in the crop development stage. Thus, the proposed method with ABA application is useful for evaluation of temporal changes in transpiration rate and stomatal conductance, and hence, can detect the plant water stress.
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