Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
In trees, xylem must fulfil three important tasks: conducting water to leaves, storing nutrients and water, and supporting the trunk. The origin of the trunk, i.e., seed or basal bud that forms sprouts, and the growth site may affect xylem anatomy, differences of which can affect successful growth of trees. Both seedlings and sprouts of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) from four different growth sites with two different soil media, peat and mineral soil, were studied. The diameter of fibres and vessels and the thickness of the double fibre wall were measured, and the number of vessels, rays and axial parenchyma cells was counted. The fibre wall:lumen ratio, vessel percentage area and vessel size:number ratio were calculated. Xylem from sprouts showed only occasionally more mature characteristics than that of seedlings. The number of rays was similar at all four sites, but differences were observed in all other studied characteristics between sites, particularly if soil type was different. The vessel size and number correlated with the number of axial parenchyma cells in juvenile wood, which emphasises the importance of their connections with storage cells particularly at this stage of growth. Good water conductivity was connected with weaker wood, particularly in maturing wood.
The paper presents preliminary results on the relationships of the longitudinal modulus of elasticity (E) in bending, based on ISO Standard 3349 tests on small, clear specimens, and some basic characteristics of Finnish Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) wood. A manual image analysis method – quantitative stereological counting – was introduced and applied for the investigations of wood structure.
The main results were consistent with those from the prior research. The range of E was 9.7 to 19.1 GPa. Increase in especially fibre density index (R2 = 0.95), weight density and specific gravity (R2 = 0.90), Runkel’s ratio, coefficient of cell rigidity and number of growth rings per cross-sectional unit area, but also in latewood percentage (R2 = 0.58) resulted in an increase in E. Increase in growth ring width, particularly in the width of the late wood section within a ring (R2 = 0.63 to 0.90) had a reverse effect. Cell wall thickness did not show any clear effect. Except for tracheid diameter, the relationships were stronger for the variables determined in the tangential than in the radial wood direction.
Quantitative stereological counting has been used to some degree in the Finnish wood research. The procedure is technically feasible and easy to use. A large sample of counting areas is frequently needed to obtain accurate mean results for the size and distribution of the features. Because the actual analysis points are located at a fixed distance from each other, the method is not in principle well suited for wood with a regular and simple structure, as Scots pine. However, the good correlations between E and some characteristics obtained with stereological counting did not support this misgiving.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
Samples that had extensive pith flecks, caused by the larvae of Dendromyza betulae (now Phytobia betulae E.Kang), were collected from two trees of Betula pendula Roth and two B. pubescens Erhr. The age of the trees varied from 45 to 56 years. The effect of larvae injury on the rays was studied. The width of affected rays in both species was more than twice that of normal rays. The height and frequency also increased considerably. When describing the anatomy of Betula species the pith flecks should be treated with caution in order to avoid confusion and misinterpretation.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.