The contribution of stored water to transpiration in Scots pine



Abstract. The amount of water available diurnally and annually from the storage tissues was measured in plots of Scots pine trees with four different population densities (608–3281 trees per ha) in a 40-year-old plantation in north eastern Scotland. The water storage capacity of stems, branches, and foliage was estimated from equations derived from harvested trees and measurements of relative water content. On average 64% of the water considered to be available for transpiration was in the stem sapwood and less than 5% in the phloem, cambium and foliage. Trees on the plot with the highest population density had a water storage capacity of 212 m3 ha−1 (21.2 mm), whereas those on the plot with the lowest population density had a water storage capacity of 124 m3 ha−1 (12.4 mm). The utilization of stored water in transpiration was estimated from seasonal and diurnal measurements of the relative water content of foliage and stem sapwood. The largest change in sapwood relative water content over a 2-week period was a reduction of 27% corresponding to extraction from the sapwood of 2.5 and 5.1 mm of water on the plots with the lowest and highest population densities, respectively. In rapidly changing weather conditions 1–1.5 mm day−1 could be removed from the stem sapwood alone. Since transpiration rarely exceeded 3 mm day−1, 30–50% of the transpired water was extracted from water stored in the stem sapwood over short periods. Trees on the plot with the lowest population density occasionally had slightly higher relative water contents and exhibited larger diurnal fluctuations than those on the plot with the highest population density, possibly because of differences in wood density. Sapwood water content was generally lower at times of high transpiration rate and in winter during freezing conditions. Resaturation took several months to complete during the winter.