Peak radial growth of diffuse-porous species occurs during periods of lower water availability than for ring-porous and coniferous trees

Loïc D'Orangeville, Malcolm Itter, Dan Kneeshaw, J. William Munger, Andrew D. Richardson, James M. Dyer, David A. Orwig, Yude Pan, Neil Pederson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate models project warmer summer temperatures will increase the frequency and heat severity of droughts in temperate forests of Eastern North America. Hotter droughts are increasingly documented to affect tree growth and forest dynamics, with critical impacts on tree mortality, carbon sequestration and timber provision. The growing acknowledgement of the dominant role of drought timing on tree vulnerability to water deficit raises the issue of our limited understanding of radial growth phenology for most temperate tree species. Here, we use well-replicated dendrometer band data sampled frequently during the growing season to assess the growth phenology of 610 trees from 15 temperate species over 6 years. Patterns of diameter growth follow a typical logistic shape, with growth rates reaching a maximum in June, and then decreasing until process termination. On average, we find that diffuse-porous species take 16-18 days less than other wood-structure types to put on 50% of their annual diameter growth. However, their peak growth rate occurs almost a full month later than ring-porous and conifer species (ca. 24 ± 4 days; mean ± 95% credible interval). Unlike other species, the growth phenology of diffuse-porous species in our dataset is highly correlated with their spring foliar phenology. We also find that the later window of growth in diffuse-porous species, coinciding with peak evapotranspiration and lower water availability, exposes them to a higher water deficit of 88 ± 19 mm (mean ± SE) during their peak growth than ring-porous and coniferous species (15 ± 35 mm and 30 ± 30 mm, respectively). Given the high climatic sensitivity of wood formation, our findings highlight the importance of wood porosity as one predictor of species climatic sensitivity to the projected intensification of the drought regime in the coming decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-316
Number of pages13
JournalTree Physiology
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • dendrometer band
  • diameter growth
  • diffuse-porous
  • ring-porous
  • temperate forest
  • water deficit
  • wood porosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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