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Journal of Arid Land  2020, Vol. 12 Issue (5): 791-805    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-020-0016-7
Research article     
Responses of Amygdalus pedunculata Pall. in the sandy and loamy soils to water stress
PEI Yanwu1,2, HUANG Laiming1,2,3,*(), SHAO Ming'an1,2,3, ZHANG Yinglong4
1Key Laboratory of Ecosystems Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2College of Natural Resources and Environment, State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4Shenmu Ecological Association, Shenmu 719399, China
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Amygdalus pedunculata Pall. is a major species that is widely planted in afforested soils with different textures in the transitional zone between Mu Us Desert and Loess Plateau, China. However, the responses of A. pedunculata to increasing intensity of water stress in different textural soils are not clear. Here, we conducted a soil column experiment to evaluate the effects of different textures (sandy and loamy) on water consumption, water use efficiency (WUE), biomass accumulation and ecological adaptability of A. pedunculata under increasing water stress, i.e., 90% (±5%) FC (field capacity), 75% (±5%) FC, 60% (±5%) FC, 45% (±5%) FC and 30% (±5%) FC in 2018. A. pedunculata grown in the sandy soil with the lowest (30% FC) and highest (90% FC) water contents had respectively 21.3%-37.0% and 4.4%-20.4% less transpiration than those with other water treatments (45%-75% FC). In contrast, A. pedunculata transpiration in the loamy soil decreased with decreasing water content. The magnitude of decrease in transpiration increased with increasing level of water deficit (45% and 30% FC). Mean daily and cumulative transpirations of the plant were significantly lower in the sandy soil than in the loamy soil under good water condition (90% FC), but the reverse was noted under water deficit treatments (45% and 30% FC). Plant height, stem diameter and total biomass initially increased with decreasing water content from 90% to 75% FC and then declined under severe water deficit conditions (45% and 30% FC) in the sandy soil. However, these plant parameters decreased with decreasing water content in the loamy soil. WUE in the sandy soil was 7.8%-12.3% higher than that in the loamy soil, which initially increased with decreasing water content from 90% to 75% FC and then declined under water deficit conditions (45% and 30% FC). The study showed that plant transpiration, biomass production and WUE responded differentially to increasing intensity of water stress in the sandy and loamy soils. The contrasting responses of A. pedunculata to water stress in different textural soils can guide future revegetation programs in the northern region of Chinese Loess Plateau by considering plant adaptability to varying soil and water conditions.

Key wordssoil texture      water consumption      biomass production      water use efficiency      Loess Plateau     
Received: 14 January 2020      Published: 10 September 2020
Corresponding Authors: Laiming HUANG     E-mail:
About author: *Corresponding author: HUANG Laiming (E-mail:
Cite this article:

PEI Yanwu, HUANG Laiming, SHAO Ming'an, ZHANG Yinglong. Responses of Amygdalus pedunculata Pall. in the sandy and loamy soils to water stress. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(5): 791-805.

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Soil type BD (g/cm3) Ks (10°C, cm/h) FC (g/g) PSD (%) SOC
TN (g/kg) SOC/TN TP (g/kg) TN/TP
Clay Silt Sand
Sandy soil 1.65 13.44 0.15 5.15 31.28 63.58 2.07 1.32 1.57 1.38 0.96
Loamy soil 1.36 8.23 0.27 13.88 51.13 34.99 3.49 1.54 2.27 1.67 0.74
Table 1 Soil physical and chemical properties in the study area
Soil type Water treatment Range of soil water content (g/g) Average soil water content (g/g)
Sandy soil AW1 0.125?0.139 0.132
AW2 0.102?0.117 0.110
AW3 0.080?0.095 0.088
AW4 0.058?0.073 0.066
AW5 0.036?0.051 0.044
Loamy soil BW1 0.229?0.256 0.243
BW2 0.189?0.216 0.203
BW3 0.149?0.176 0.162
BW4 0.108?0.135 0.122
BW5 0.067?0.094 0.081
Table 2 Soil water contents under different textural soils and water treatments
Fig. 1 Daily evaporation (a) and transpiration (b and c) from May to September in 2018. A and B represent the sandy soil and loamy soil, respectively. W1, W2, W3, W4 and W5 denote the five levels of water treatment, which are respectively 90% (±5%) FC (field capacity), 75% (±5%) FC, 60% (±5%) FC, 45% (±5%) FC and 30% (±5%) FC. AWμ and BWμ respectively represent mean daily transpiration of the sandy soil and loamy soil under different water treatments. The abbreviations are the same as in Figures 2-4. Bars represent standard errors.
Soil type Water treatment Mean daily transpiration (kg) Cumulative transpiration (kg)
Sandy soil AW1 0.152±0.020a 16.66±0.513a
AW2 0.195±0.039b 21.78±1.157b
AW3 0.196±0.021b 21.76±0.873bcd
AW4 0.179±0.040c 19.52±0.752cd
AW5 0.114±0.021e 12.08±0.664f
Mean 0.147 18.36
Loamy soil BW1 0.199±0.027b 21.04±0.996b
BW2 0.210±0.036b 22.36±0.574bc
BW3 0.192±0.024b 20.20±0.637d
BW4 0.090±0.016d 9.16±0.344e
BW5 0.054±0.014f 5.50±0.218g
Mean 0.132 15.65
Table 3 Mean daily and cumulative transpirations under different textural soils and water treatments
Fig. 2 Plant height (a and b) and stem diameter (c and d) of A. pedunculata from May to September in 2018 under different textural soils and water treatments. Bars represent standard errors.
Soil type Water treatment H (cm) D (mm)
Sandy soil AW1 46.3±3.5a 9.25±0.62a
AW2 61.2±4.7b 10.78±0.38a
AW3 73.5±5.2c 12.94±0.51b
AW4 66.2±5.1b 12.30±0.47b
AW5 58.5±4.3b 9.35±0.21a
Loamy soil BW1 89.6±7.8d 14.87±0.98c
BW2 74.5±6.7c 11.62±0.67ab
BW3 50.5±4.8a 10.62±0.43b
BW4 57.8±3.2ab 8.42±0.23a
BW5 57.1±2.8ab 8.35±0.20a
Table 4 Plant height (H) and stem diameter (D) under different textural soils and water treatments at the end of the growing season
Fig. 3 Aboveground (a) and belowground (b) biomasses, total biomass (c) and root to shoot ratio (d) of A. pedunculata under different textural soils and water treatments. Different lowercase letters represent significant differences among different water treatments within the same soil texture at P<0.05 level. Bars represent standard errors.
Fig. 4 Water use efficiency (WUE) of A. pedunculata under different textural soils and water treatments. Different lowercase letters indicate significant differences among different water treatments within the same soil texture at P<0.05 level. The horizontal dashed line represents mean WUE under different water treatments.
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