How easily do plant roots extract water from the soil? When does the soil becoming a limiting factor for root water uptake? What root and rhizosphere traits favour water uptake? A key variable to answer these questions and understand soil-plant water relations is the leaf water potential. But, non-destructive measurements of leaf water potential are challenging.
The Plant-Pressure-Ecotron (PPE) allows accurate measurements of leaf water potential and transpiration of intact plants exposed to varying evaporative demand and soil drying. PPE measures the balancing pressure that is needed to bring the leaf xylem to atmospheric pressure, which is equivalent to the leaf xylem suction prior to pressurization. PPE allows to measure the hydraulic conductance of the soil-plant system and its components, making the PPE an optimal method to study
plant tolerance to drought conditions.