Improved installation and validation of sap flow sensors on maize plants

L.H. Comas, M.G. van Bavel, J.S. Young, K.A. Chesus
Over the last three years, a considerable effort has been implemented to upgrade heat-balance type sap flow sensors and simplify installation for plants with high stem transpiration, such as maize. A new style of sensors makes the installation on maize efficient and can eliminate additional issues, including moisture accumulation and adventitious root production in the vicinity of the sensors. Sap flow sensors were installed on maize plants placed on continuously logging scales in the greenhouse. The tops of the pots were sealed between the pot rim and the plant stem with plastic garbage bags. Transpiration measured by sap flow sensors was compared to that gravimetrically-determined from the weight loss of pots on the scales. Greenhouse along with field data suggests that the ability to install and leave sensors on stems without maintenance can be increased from 2 weeks to 4, to 6 weeks or longer, depending on the stage of growth at the time that sensors are installed, with accurate results.
Comas, L.H., van Bavel, M.G., Young, J.S. and Chesus, K.A. (2018). Improved installation and validation of sap flow sensors on maize plants. Acta Hortic. 1222, 167-172
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1222.34
heat-balance type sensors, transpiration, lysimeter, methods, plant water use

Acta Horticulturae