Relationship between growth rates and xylem hydraulic characteristics in young, mature and old-growth ponderosa pine trees

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The first objective of the present study was to quantify the effects of tree age and stem position on specific conductivity (ks), vulnerability to embolism and water storage capacity (capacitance) in trunks of young, mature and old-growth ponderosa pine. The second objective was to determine relationships between hydraulic characteristics and radial and height growth rates to increase the understanding of possible tradeoffs. Within sapwood at all heights and in all ages of trees, outer sapwood had 25-60% higher ks than inner sapwood. The water potential at which embolism started (air entry point) was 1.3 MPa lower in inner sapwood than outer sapwood within the mature trees, but there was no difference in the other trees. There was no significant difference in capacitances between the tops of the old growth trees, the mature trees and the young trees. Taking all data together, the capacitances increased sharply with an increase in ks and an increase in vulnerability to embolism. The hydraulic characteristics of the three age classes were correlated with the height growth rate but not with the diameter growth rate. Within these age classes, high ks was associated with the slowest yearly increase in sapwood area and with a low percentage of latewood, whereas high vulnerability to embolism and high capacitance were more closely associated with high height growth rates.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Domec, JC; Gartner, BL

Published Date

  • March 1, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 471 - 483

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0140-7791

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1046/j.1365-3040.2003.00978.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus