Inter-annual and inter-species tree growth explained by phenology of xylogenesis

Yizhao Chen, Tim Rademacher, Patrick Fonti, Annemarie H. Eckes-Shephard, James M. LeMoine, Marina V. Fonti, Andrew D. Richardson, Andrew D. Friend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Wood formation determines major long-term carbon (C) accumulation in trees and therefore provides a crucial ecosystem service in mitigating climate change. Nevertheless, we lack understanding of how species with contrasting wood anatomical types differ with respect to phenology and environmental controls on wood formation. In this study, we investigated the seasonality and rates of radial growth and their relationships with climatic factors, and the seasonal variations of stem nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) in three species with contrasting wood anatomical types (red oak: ring-porous; red maple: diffuse-porous; white pine: coniferous) in a temperate mixed forest during 2017–2019. We found that the high ring width variability observed in both red oak and red maple was caused more by changes in growth duration than growth rate. Seasonal radial growth patterns did not vary following transient environmental factors for all three species. Both angiosperm species showed higher concentrations and lower inter-annual fluctuations of NSC than the coniferous species. Inter-annual variability of ring width varied by species with contrasting wood anatomical types. Due to the high dependence of annual ring width on growth duration, our study highlights the critical importance of xylem formation phenology for understanding and modelling the dynamics of wood formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-952
Number of pages14
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • cell enlargement
  • diffuse porous
  • inter-annual variability
  • nonstructural carbon hydrate
  • ring porous
  • temperate forest
  • wood phenology
  • xylogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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