Influence Of Climate And Fertilization On Net Photosynthesis Of Mature Slash Pine

  • Sites: US-SP1
  • Teskey, R. O., Gholz, H. L., Cropper, W. P. (1994) Influence Of Climate And Fertilization On Net Photosynthesis Of Mature Slash Pine, Tree Physiology, 14(11), 1215-1227.
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  • Net photosynthesis was measured under field conditions in 23-year-old slash pine (Pinus elliottii Engelm. var. elliottii) trees to determine how it was affected by fertilization and climate. There was only a small decrease in rates of net photosynthesis from late summer through winter demonstrating that appreciable carbon gain occurs throughout the year in slash pine. Although fertilization substantially increased leaf area and aboveground biomass, it only slightly increased the rate of net photosynthesis. Simultaneous measurements of gas exchange in fertilized and unfertilized (control) plots allowed the detection of a small, but statistically significant difference in average net photosynthesis of 0.14 μmol m−2 s−1. Irradiance, and to a lesser extent air temperature, were the environmental factors that exerted the most control on net photosynthesis. The highest rates of net photosynthesis occurred between air temperatures of 25 and 35 °C. Because air temperatures were within this range for 46% of all daylight hours during the year, air temperature was not often a significant limitation. Soil and atmospheric water deficits had less effect on photosynthesis than irradiance or air temperature. Although the depth to the water table changed during the year from 10 to 160 cm, predawn and midday xylem pressure potentials only changed slightly throughout the year. Predawn values ranged from –0.63 to –0.88 MPa in the control plot and from –0.51 to –0.87 MPa in the fertilized plot and were not correlated with water table depth. There was no correlation between xylem pressure potentials and net photosynthesis, presumably because water uptake was adequate. Although vapor pressure deficits reached 3.5 kPa during the summer, they had little effect on net photosynthesis. Over a vapor pressure deficit range from 1.0 to 3.0 kPa, net photosynthesis only decreased 21%. No differences in responses to these environmental factors could be attributed to fertilization.