Moisture sensitive stage in detail

Optimal soil moisture for plant growth varies with the stage of crop growth. Certain periods during the crop growth and development are most sensitive to soil moisture stress compared with other. These periods are known as moisture sensitive periods. The term critical period is commonly used to define the stage of growth when plants are most sensitive to shortage of water. Inadequate water supply during moisture sensitive periods will irrevocably reduce the yield and provision of adequate water and other management practices at other growth stages will not help in recovering the yield lost.

In case of vegetables, when they are young, though transpire less water, need a stress free moisture condition because of the very weak root system which is sparsely distributed and located in upper 15 to 20 cm layer of soil that gets quickly dried. Vegetable crops utilize and transpire more water in the later stages of growth during which moisture stress markedly reduces yield.

Crop Important moisture sensitive stages
Rice: Panicle initiation, flowering
Wheat: Crown-root initiation(CRI),jointing, milking
Sorghum: Seedling, flowering
Maize: Silking, tasseling
Pearl millet: Flowering, panicle initiation
Finger millet: Flowering, panicle initiation
Groundnut: Rapid flowering, pegging, early pod formation
Redgram: Flowering and pod formation
Greengram: Flowering and pod formation
Blackgram: Flowering and pod formation
Sugarcane: Formative stage
Soybean: Blooming and seed formation
Cotton: Flowering and boll development
Tobacco: Transplanting to full bloom
Chillies: Flowering
Potato: Tuber initiation to tuber maturity
Onion: Bulb formation to maturity
Tomato: From the commencement of fruit set
Peas: Flowering and pod development
Cabbage: Head formation until becoming firm
Carrot: Root enlargement



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