The resistances to liquid water transport in the soil and plant were determined directly and simultaneously from measurements of soil, root, and leaf water potentials and the flux of water through the soil-plant system to the sites of evaporation in the leaf. For soybean (Merr.) transporting water at a steady rate, water potential differences between soil and root were smaller than between root and leaf over the range of soil water potentials from −0.2 to −11 bars. As soil water was depleted, water flow through the soil and plant decreased to one-tenth the maximum rate, but both the soil resistance and plant resistance increased. The plant resistance remained larger than the soil resistance over the entire range of soil water availability. Previous suggestions that the soil is the major resistance have ignored the increase in plant resistance and/or assumed root densities that were too low.
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