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Effect of timing of waterlogging on survival of chickpeas (cicer arietinum l.)

A.L. Cowie, R.S. Jessop and D.A. MacLeod

Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351

Chickpeas are more sensitive to waterlogging after flowering than during vegetative growth (E. Knights, pers. comm.; Cowie, unpublished data). This experiment aimed to identify the developmental stage at which sensitivity to waterlogging increases.


Chickpeas (cv. Tyson) were sown into 20 cm pots on five occasions at five-thy intervals. Four plants were grown per pot and treatments were replicated four times. When 50% of the plants from the third sowing had one open flower, waterlogging was imposed on all treatments by immersing pots in buckets of water and maintaining the water level at the soil surface for 10 days. At harvest, 32 days from the end of waterlogging, plants were divided into original stem and leaf, and regrowth, and mortality was recorded.

Results and discussion

Li response to waterlogging, widespread chlorosis, followed by necrosis and abscission of leaves was observed and most branch apices died. After 13 days, new shoots grew from the base of the stems of some plants while the remaining plants died. The mortality rate was closely related to flowering time, wiih 100% of plants dying when waterlogging was imposed one week after flowc.i.;, but only 13% mortality when waterlogging occurred six days before flowering (Tabl? 1). Sib'', peas are more sensitive to waterlogging at early flowering than during vegetative gr-mtil (1). The explanation for this is unknown, though perhaps, in plants which are flowering, assimilates mobilised during leaf senescence are translocated upwards to the developing fruit and are thus unavailable to support growth of new shoots when the excess water is removed. The-efore, as sensitivity of chickpea to waterlogging is greatly increased after flowering, it is recommended that irrigation be applied prior to flowering if moisture stress is anticipated.

Table 1. Mortality rate and regrowth following waterlogging imposed at five stages of floral development. Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different (P>0.05).


This project was funded by the Grain Legumes Research Council.


Jackson, M.B. 1979. J. Sci. Food Agric. 30, 143-152.

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