Background and objectives
Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens var. fastigiata) is a native, evergreen species. Due to its various merits, particularly its wide use in parks and urban green spaces, it is of interest in most climatic regions of Iran, including Zagros provinces. Due to the poverty of soil and limitation in water sources, the production of seedlings of this species has become particularly problematic in some of these regions. By using rhizobacteria Pseudomonas fluorescens inoculation in soil, for the first time, the present study aims to determine the resistance and variations of growth characteristics of seedlings under water deficit conditions.
Materials and methods
The experiment was conducted as a factorial, using a completely randomized design with two treatments (i.e., with rhizobacteria and without rhizobacteria), different watering levels (3, 6, 9 and 12 days) in three replicates. After 5 months, growth characteristics of seedlings were measured.
Increasing the watering period (water deficit) caused to significantly decrease the survival, diameter, shoot biomass and total biomass, so that all seedlings were died under 12-day watering level. In watering period of 9 days, survival was reduced to 49.83 percent. There was no significant difference in collar diameter, root length, root volume and root/shoot biomass with water deficit intensity. However, the survival rate, height growth, shoot biomass, root biomass, total biomass and seedling quality index were greater in seedlings inoculated with rhizobacteria, compared with those of non-inoculated seedlings.
The seedlings of Mediterranean Cypress inoculated with Pseudomonas fluorescens rhizobacteria are able to tolerate the water deficit stress and increase their growth performance; however, under optimal conditions, the rhizobacteria inoculation has no positive effect on survival rate of the seedlings.