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The Relation of Foliar Phenology to Xylem Embolism in Trees

J. Wang, N. E. Ives and M. J. Lechowicz
Functional Ecology
Vol. 6, No. 4 (1992), pp. 469-475
DOI: 10.2307/2389285
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2389285
Page Count: 7
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The Relation of Foliar Phenology to Xylem Embolism in Trees
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Abstract

1. The relationship between the foliar phenology of 43 north temperate tree species and the winter impairment of hydraulic conductivity was investigated. Eight were non-porous conifers of which all but one were evergreen. Thirty-five were broad-leaf, deciduous hardwoods: 21 with diffuse-porous wood anatomy, 11 ring-porous and three semi-ring-porous. 2. The hydraulic conductivity expressed per total mm2 of the sampled stem or branch cross-section (area specific conductivity) was significantly lower for conifers compared to hardwoods. The conifers had virtually no embolisms in late winter (average of 1% conductivity loss, range 0-8%); in diffuse-porous hardwoods, specific conductivity losses by late winter averaged 17% (range 0-47%) compared to 26% (range 0-60%) for semi-ring-porous hardwoods and 55% (range 0-86%) for ring-porous. 3. Considering all trees without regard to their differences in wood anatomy, species with higher maximum specific conductivity also were significantly more prone to loss of conducting capacity by late winter. The specific conductivity of diffuse-porous hardwoods as a group, however, did not differ significantly from that of the hardwoods with ring- or semi-ring-porous wood. The smaller loss of hydraulic conductivity by late winter for diffuse-porous species was significant. 4. Among the deciduous hardwoods, there was a highly significant correlation between the loss of hydraulic conductivity by late winter and the timing of bud burst in the spring. The diffuse-porous species, which incur less loss of hydraulic conductivity than the ring- and semi-ring-porous species, leafed out significantly earlier; the diffuse-porous species also tended to senesce later in the autumn. Our results substantiate the functional dependence of foliar phenology on tree water relations.

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