Seasonal Water Relations of Three Gallery Forest Hardwood Species in Northeast Kansas

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Field and laboratory studies were used to evaluate several water relations characteristics for saplings of three species: hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), a mesic, late successional tree, and bur and chinquapin oak (Quercus macrocarpa and Q. muehlenbergii), more xeric, early successional trees growing in a northeast Kansas gallery forest understory during a dry summer. For all species, maximum stomatal conductance (gwv) (8.9-9.5 mm ยท s-1) was recorded early in the season when soil moisture was greatest. Seasonally, sunlit leaves generally had significantly higher gwv than shaded leaves. Both gwv and leaf water potential (leaf) decreased during the season in each species, with minimum leaf values ranging from -2.13 to -2.48 MPa. Seasonally, leaf remained consistently higher than the osmotic potential at zero turgor (0) for each species (minimum values of (0) ranged from -2.61 to -3.02 MPa). Hackberry, the most mesic species, experienced the largest seasonal decrease in gwv in both shaded and sunlit leaves (69% and 78% reduction, respectively). Moreover, in contrast to the two oaks, a significant seasonal decline in 600 h leaf was shown for hackberry. By season's end, hackberry had the lowest gwv and leaf values. In contrast, chinquapin oak had the highest late season gwv for sunlit leaves and  leaf, suggesting that this species was better able to utilize late season precipitation. Forest Sci. 32:687-696.

Keywords: Celtis; Quercus; drought; ecophysiology; prairie

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Botany, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 83201

Publication date: September 1, 1986

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