Moisture stress occurs when the water in a plant's cells is reduced to less than normal levels. This can occur because of a lack of water in the plant's root zone, higher rates of transpiration than the rate of moisture uptake by the roots, for example, because of an inability to absorb water due to a high salt content in the soil water or loss of roots due to transplantation. Moisture stress is more strongly related to water potential than it is to water content.
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