e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 45 (4) Nov. 2022 / JTAS-2495-2022


Influence of Irrigation Systems on the Plant Growth and Leaf Ratio Analyses of Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) Seedlings

Abba Nabayi, Christopher Boon Sung Teh and Zulkefly Sulaiman

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 45, Issue 4, November 2022


Keywords: Drip irrigation, growing media, sprinkler irrigation, water productivity, wick irrigation

Published on: 4 November 2022

The sprinkler irrigation system is the most widely used system for rubber irrigation in a nursery. However, the method is associated with high water loss during irrigation. In view of this, an experiment was conducted to assess the effect of different irrigation systems on the growth dynamics, leaf ratio analyses, water productivity, and water use efficiency of rubber seedlings. The treatments were the irrigation systems; soil + overhead sprinkler (CON), growing media (GM) + drip irrigation (DRP), GM + capillary wick system (WCK), and GM + overhead sprinkler (SPR). Each treatment was replicated three times, and the experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design. The results showed that the DRP and WCK had significantly (p<0.05) higher seedlings’ growth parameters by 15–39% than obtained in the SPR and CON. However, the DRP, WCK, and SPR had statistically comparable seedlings’ root length and volume by 14–43% higher relative to the CON. Similar trends of plant growth dynamics, such as crop growth rate (CGR), leaf area index (LAI), and leaf ratio analyses, were observed for all treatments. However, the CON had lower CGR and LAI, which could be attributed to the lower water retention of the soil used in the treatment. The DRP and WCK had comparable water productivity with 56–60% higher than the SPR and CON treatments. The sprinkler irrigation treatments (SPR and CON) had 84% lower water use efficiency than the DRP and WCK. The DRP and WCK are the best treatments in this study because their higher water application uniformity led to higher seedlings’ growth dynamics and water productivity. The sprinkler system had higher water loss due to the lack of application uniformity, leading to lower plant growth than other irrigations. However, the SPR shows the potential to be more cost-effective due to its lower recurrent cost of labor than drip and wick irrigation.

  • Abba, N., Teh, C. B. S., Husni, M. H. A., & Sulaiman, Z. (2015, August 18-20). Preliminary analyses: Effect of different irrigation systems on the growth and plant nutrient content in rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) nursery seedlings [Paper presentation]. Malaysian Society of Plant Physiology Conference, Ipoh, Malaysia.

  • Argo, W. R., & Biernbaum, J. A. (1994). Irrigation requirements, root medium pH and nutrient concentrations of Easter lilies grown in five peat-based media with and without an evaporation barrier. Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science, 119(6), 1151– 1156.

  • Aydinsakir, K., Erdal, S., Buyuktas, D., Bastug, R., & Toker, R. (2013). The influence of regular deficit irrigation applications on water use, yield, and quality components of two corn genotypes. Agricultural Water Management, 128(1-2), 65-71.

  • Bainbridge, D. A. (2002). Alternative irrigation systems for arid land restoration. Ecological Restoration, 20(1), 23-30.

  • Bhatt, R. M., & Rao, N. S. (2005). Influence of pod load on response of okra to water stress. Indian Journal Plant Physiology, 10(1), 54-59.

  • Bryant, H., & Yeager, T. (2002). Production of Spathiphyllum using three irrigation methods. In Proceedings of Southern Nursery Association Research Conference (Vol 47, pp. 596–599). American Association of Nurserymen.

  • Bunt, A. C. (1988). Media and mixes for container-grown plants: A manual on the preparation and use of growing media for pot plants. Springer.

  • Cabuslay, G. S., Ito, O., & Alejal, A. A. (2002). Physiological evaluation of response of rice (Oryza sativa L.) to water deficit. Plant Science, 63(4), 815-827.

  • Çakir, R. (2004). Effect of water stress at different development stages on vegetative and reproductive growth of corn. Field Crops Research, 89(1), 1-16.

  • Chaitanya, K. V., Sundar, D., Jutur, P. P., & Ramachandara, A. (2003). Water stress effect on photosynthesis indifferent mulberry cultivars. Plant Growth Regulation, 40(1), 75-80.

  • Chapman, H. D. (1965). Cation-exchange capacity. In C. A. Black (Ed.), Methods of soil analysis: Part 2 Chemical and microbiological properties (pp. 891–901). American Society of Agronomy.

  • Correia, M. J., Coelho, D., & David, M. M. (2001). Response to seasonal drought in three cultivars of Ceratonia siliqua, leaf growth and water relation. Tree Physiology, 21(10), 645-653.

  • da Silva, E. C., de Albuquerque, M. B., de Azevedo Neto, A. D., & da Silva Junior, C. D. (2013). Drought and its consequences to plants – From individual to ecosystem. In S. Akıncı (Ed.), Responses of organisms to water stress (pp. 18-37). IntechOpen.

  • Dey, S. K., & Vijayakumar, K. K. (2005). Photosynthesis and biomass production of three popular Hevea brasiliensis clones as affected by water stress. Indian Journal of Natural Rubber Research, 18, 46-54.

  • dos Santos, T. P., Lopes, C. M., Rodrigues, M. L., Souza, C. R., Silva, J. R., Maroco, J. P., Pereira, J. S., & Chaves M. M. (2007). Effects of deficit irrigation strategies on cluster microclimate for improving fruit composition of Moscatel field-grown grapevines. Scientia Horticulturae, 112(3), 321–330.

  • El‐Hendawy, S., Hokam, E., & Schmidhalter, U. (2008). Drip irrigation frequency: The effects and their interaction with nitrogen fertilization on sandy soil water distribution, maize yield and water use efficiency under Egyptian conditions. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 194(3), 180-192.

  • Field, H. L., & Long, J. M. (2018). Introduction to agricultural engineering technology: A problem-solving approach. Springer.

  • Franco, J. A., Martínez-Sánchez, J. J., Fernández, J. A., & Bañón, S. (2006). Selection and nursery production of ornamental plants for landscaping and xero-gardening in semiarid environments. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 81(1), 3–17.

  • Heydari, N. (2014). Water productivity in agriculture: Challenges in concepts, terms and values. Irrigation and Drainage, 63(1), 22-28.

  • Hunt, R. (1990). Basic growth analysis: Plant growth analysis for beginners. Springer.

  • Jones, J. B. (2001). Laboratory guide for conducting soil test and plant analysis (1st ed.). CRC Press.

  • Kharrou, M. H., Er-Raki, S., Chehbouni, A., Duchemin, B., Simonneaux, V., LePage, M., Ouzine, L., & Jarlan, L. (2011). Water use efficiency and yield of winter wheat under different irrigation regimes in a semi-arid region. Agricultural Sciences, 2(3), 273-282.

  • Krizek, D. T., Carmi, A., Mirecki, R. M., Snyder, F. W., & Bruce, J. A. (1985). Comparative effects of soil moisture stress and restricted root zone volume on morphogenetic and physiological responses of soybean (Glycine max). Journal of Experimental Botany, 36(1), 25-38.

  • Mackay, A. D., & Barber, S. A. (1985). Effect of nitrogen on root growth of two corn genotypes in the field. Agronomy Journal, 78(4), 659–703.

  • Maya, B., Marcel, K., & Ali, H. (2014). Making the user visible: Analyzing irrigation practice and farmers’ logic to explain actual drip irrigation performance. Irrigation Science, 32(6), 405-420.

  • Nabayi, A. (2016). Influence of seedling establishment techniques and irrigation systems on growth, water use efficiency and nutrient content of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.) [Unpublished Master’s dissertation]. Universiti Putra Malaysia.

  • Nabayi, A., Teh, C. B. S., Husni, M. H. A., & Sulaiman, Z. (2018). Plant growth, nutrient content and water use of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) seedlings grown using root trainers and different irrigation systems. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, 41(1), 251 – 270.

  • Nabayi, A., Teh, C. B. S., Husni, M. H. A., & Sulaiman, Z. (2020). Use of root trainers and wick irrigation for better production of rubber plant seedlings production in nurseries. Soil and Environment, 39(2), 126-134.

  • Nabayi, A., Teh, C. B. S., Husni, M. H. A., Jaafar, A. H., & Isnar, M. S. (2016). Comparison of three irrigation systems for the BX-1 system for nursery seedlings. Malaysian Journal of Soil Science, 20, 19-36.

  • Nair, K. P. (2021). Tree crops: Harvesting cash from the world’s important cash crops (1st ed.). Springer.

  • Noordin, W. D. (2013). Rubber plantation: Soil management and nutritional requirement. Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.

  • Ozsan, M., Tekinel, O., Tuzcu, O., & Cevik, B. (1983). Studies on determining the most efficient irrigation method for growing lemons under cukurova conditions. Doga Bilim Dergisi Dz, Tarim Ve Ormancilik, 7(1), 63-69.

  • Raj, S., Das, G., Pothen, J., & Dey, S. K. (2005). Relationship between latex yield of Hevea brasiliensis and antecedent environmental parameters. International Journal of Biometeorology, 49(3), 189-196.

  • Rivera-Hernández, B. E., Carrillo-Ávila, J. J., Obrador-Olán, J. F., Juárez-López, Aceves-Navarro, L. A., & García-López, E. (2009). Soil moisture tension and phosphate fertilization on yield components of A-7573 sweet corn (Zea mays L.) hybrid, in Campeche, Mexico. Agricultural Water Management, 96(9), 1285-1292.

  • Salisu, M. A., Sulaiman, Z., Samad, M. Y. A., & Kolapo, O. K. (2018). Effect of various types and size of container on growth and root morphology of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis Muell. Arg.). International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research, 7(6), 21-27.

  • Salisu, M., Daud, N., & Ahmad, I. (2013). Influence of fertilizer rates and soil series on growth performance of natural rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) latex timber clones. Australian Journal of Crop Science, 7(13), 1998-2004.

  • Stromberger, A. (2002). Root deformation in plantations of container-grown stock: Consequences for growth, stability, and stem quality. In Combined Proceedings International Plant Propagators’ Society (Vol. 52, pp. 108–113). Plant Propagators Society.

  • Sumesh, K. V., Satheesh, P. R., Annamalainathan, K., Krishnakumar, R., Thomas, M., & Jacob, J. (2011). Physiological evaluation of a few modern Hevea clones for intrinsic drought tolerance. Natural Rubber Research, 24(1), 61-67.

  • Teh, C. B. S., Hafiz, A. J. & Isnar, M. S. (2015). Growth, water productivity and water use efficiency of kangkung (Ipomoea reptans) grown under three irrigation system. In Soil Science Conference of Malaysia: Soil Security for Sustainable Food Production (pp. 8-10). Malaysian Society of Soil Science.

  • Thomas, M., Xavier, S., Sumesh, K. V., Annamalainathan, K., Nair, D. B., & Mercy, M. A. (2015). Identification of potential drought tolerant Hevea germplasm accessions using physiological and biochemical parameters. Rubber Science, 28(1), 62-69.

  • Vijayakumar, K. R., Dey, S. K., Chandrasekhar, T. R., Devakumar, A. S., Mohankrishna, T., Sanjeeva Rao, P., & Sethurai M. R. (1998). Irrigation requirement of rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) in the subhumid tropics. Agricultural Water Management, 35(3), 245-259.

  • Waizah, Y., Uzu, F. O., Orimoloye, J. R., & Idoko, S. O. (2011). Effects of rubber effluent, urea and rock phosphate on soil properties and rubber seedlings in an acid sandy soil. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 6(16), 3733-3739.

  • Westervelt, P. M. (2003). Greenhouse production of Rosmarinus officinalis L. [Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University]. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Digital Libraries and Repositories.

  • Wolf, D. D., & Carson, E. W. (1973). Growth analysis. Journal of Agronomic Education, 2(1), 39-42.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

Article ID


Download Full Article PDF

Share this article

Related Articles