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Notes: Effects of Cold Soil on Water Relations and Spring Growth of Douglas-fir Seedlings

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Effects of low soil temperature on the water relations, shoot growth, and root growth of Douglas-fir seedlings (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) were studied to evaluate the significance of reduced water uptake and growth in seedlings outplanted in cold soils. Transpiration rate declined linearly with decreasing soil temperature, and at 1.3°C, was 18.8 percent of the rate at 20.2°C. Xylem pressure potential of seedlings maintained under high evaporative demand for 10 days in soil at 1.3°C averaged -20.0 bars, compared to a higher potential (-13.4 bars) for seedlings in soil at 26°C. Stomatal conductance of seedlings in cold soil was 50 percent or less of seedlings in warm soil. Low soil temperature reduced shoot growth and completely prevented root growth. The results indicate that for seedlings planted in cold soil, reduced water uptake does not immediately cause lethal water stress. The primary cause of poor field survival probably is suppressed root growth at low soil temperature resulting in increased susceptibility to summer drought. Forest Sci. 30:628-634.
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Keywords: Pseudotsuga menziesii; artificial regeneration; root permeability; transpiration; xylem pressure potential

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Principal Plant Physiologist, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO 80526

Publication date: 1984-09-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 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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