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Evaluation of the Pressure Chamber Technique for Estimating Plant Water Potential of Forest Tree Species

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The pressure chamber method for rapid field or laboratory estimation of plant water stress was evaluated, using the thermocouple psychrometer technique. The psychrometer is believed to provide the most accurate measurements of leaf water potential available when certain precautions are taken. The pressure chamber method estimates xylem pressure potential. Comparisons were made by bringing seedlings or large branches into the laboratory and making measurements on leaf samples in the psychrometer and on single leaves or stem tips in the pressure chamber. Most comparisons on Pinus taeda L., P. strobus L., Picea engelmannii Parry, and Liriodendron tulipifera L. agreed within 5 bars. With Quercus rubra L. and Q. alba L., however, the observed pressure potentials were as much as 16 bars lower than leaf water potential. These discrepancies prevent using the values obtained by the pressure chamber technique as direct estimates of leaf water potential for the species studied. The most appropriate way to use the pressure chamber method in evaluating plant water stress is to first determine calibration curves for each species relating the estimate of xylem pressure potential to known leaf water potential.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Plant Physiologist, was with the Dept. of Botany, Duke University, Durham, N. C.

Publication date: 1968-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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