Current issue: 53(4)
Under compilation: 54(1)
It is commonly accepted that the period of early-spring xylem sap exudation marks a stage during which a positive pressure builds inside the tree trunks. This state changes when leaves appear, initiating water transport within the trunk. It is unknown, however, how the wood anatomical structure and its mechanical resistance influences the sap. We present the results of research on the relationship between exudation of sap from Betula pendula Roth trees from the interior of a forest stand and from its edge, and the anatomical structure of the trunk wood and its bending strength. During the period between March 21 and April 18, we performed five sets of measurements of sap exudation from trees at the edge of the stand and from the forest interior. The resulting radial wood samples were tested for bending strength using a fractometer. We tested the sap for electrolytic conductivity and sugars content. For the anatomical analysis of the wood, we determined the number of vessels per 1 mm2, average vessel lumen area and potential conductivity index. We found that the trees along the edge of the stand exude more sap, but it is less concentrated than the sap from the trees from the interior. Bending strength perpendicular to wood fibres is higher in the trees from the stand edge and in the western side of the trunk, where the number of vessels per 1 mm2 and conductivity index are smaller. Seemingly, this is the result of western winds, which are dominant in Poland.
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.
In this study the width and height of 1,588 uniseriate and 454 fusiform rays were measured from tangential sections of four Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trunks. The samples represented various height levels and distances from the pith. The average width of the uniseriate rays was 19.7 μm and that of the fusiform rays, 51.9 μm. The average height of the uniseriate rays was 215.7 μm and that of the fusiform rays 406.2 μm. Due to this difference in height, it may be possible to develop an automatic system for distinguishing between uniseriate end fusiform rays on the basis of their height.
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The influence of various environmental factors on the diameter growth of trees has been studied based on data collected by following daily increment of trees and various environmental factors during the growing season in 1964–1967. The field work was carried out in two experimental stands, a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stand and a mixed stands growing birch (Betula sp.), Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) and Scots pine, in Southern Finland.
The results show that the temperature sums preceding the beginning of diameter growth were of the same magnitude in the years studied, which indicates dependence in the relationship. Formation of new xylem cells took place in the pine stem ca. every third day when the diameter growth was most active. No summer growth inhibition was detected in diameter growth.
None of the cumulative temperature sums tried determined the time of cessation of diameter growth. In several cases, positive correlation was found between the length of the growing season and the width of the annual ring formed. When studying the relationships between the diameter increment and the environmental factors, it was found that diameter increment was totally masked in the records by the hydrostatic changes in the stem. Relationships between the diameter increment and the environmental factors of the second day preceding growth were found to be poor. In studying the deviations of the recorded daily increments from the regression surface, no clear general trend was seen for pine and spruce, but clear diminishing trend toward the end og the growing season could be seen for birch in 1967.