Journal Article Patterns of Branch Growth and Death in Crowns of Sakhalin Spruce, Picea glehnii (F. Schmidt) Mast

Chen, Lei  ,  Sumida, Akihiro

8 ( 1 )  , p.26 , 2017-01 , MDPI
The development of crown architecture strongly affects tree growth and survival. Growth and death of primary branches (those branching off from the main stem) and secondary branches (those from a primary branch) in the lowest part of the crown were investigated for Picea glehnii in an even-aged plantation. Probability of death of a primary branch decreased as the length between its basal location and the crown base (L-CB) increased (p = 0.04), but this probability was not significantly related to the relative photosynthetic photon flux density (rPPFD) above the primary branch (p = 0.18). The probability of producing one or more current-year shoots on a primary branch increased with increasing rPPFD above the primary branch (p = 0.01); however, this probability was unrelated to L-CB (p = 0.29). Secondary branches at the distal part of a primary branch produced more current-year shoots and exhibited a lower probability of death than proximal branches (p < 0.01), probably because rPPFD above the distal secondary branches was greater than the proximal branches (p < 0.01). Our results suggest that, while local light conditions are relevant to shoot production and shoot death on a primary branch, the death of an entire primary branch may be related to some morphological attributes concerning the length to the crown base.

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