Divergent hydraulic strategies to cope with freezing in co-occurring temperate tree species with special reference to root and stem pressure generation

Xiao Han Yin, Frank Sterck, Guang You Hao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Some temperate tree species mitigate the negative impacts of frost-induced xylem cavitation by restoring impaired hydraulic function via positive pressures, and may therefore be more resistant to frost fatigue (the phenomenon that post-freezing xylem becomes more susceptible to hydraulic dysfunction) than nonpressure-generating species. We test this hypothesis and investigate underlying anatomical/physiological mechanisms. Using a common garden experiment, we studied key hydraulic traits and detailed xylem anatomical characteristics of 18 sympatric tree species. These species belong to three functional groups, that is, one generating both root and stem pressures (RSP), one generating only root pressure (RP), and one unable to generate such pressures (NP). The three functional groups diverged substantially in hydraulic efficiency, resistance to drought-induced cavitation, and frost fatigue resistance. Most notably, RSP and RP were more resistant to frost fatigue than NP, but this was at the cost of reduced hydraulic conductivity for RSP and reduced resistance to drought-induced cavitation for RP. Our results show that, in environments with strong frost stress: these groups diverge in hydraulic functioning following multiple trade-offs between hydraulic efficiency, resistance to drought and resistance to frost fatigue; and how differences in anatomical characteristics drive such divergence across species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-541
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume219
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • cavitation
  • freeze–thaw cycle
  • frost fatigue
  • root pressure
  • temperate forest
  • xylem hydraulics

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