We measured diel patterns of stem surface CO2 efflux (Es, µmol m−2 s−1), sap velocity (vs, mm s−1) and xylem CO2 concetration ([CO2]) (Xs, %) in 8-year-old loblolly pine trees during the spring to determine how vs and Xs influence Es. All trees showed a strong diel hysteresis between Es and stem temperature, where at a given temperature, Es was lower during the day than at night. Diel variations in temperature-independent Es were correlated with vs (R2 = 0.54), such that at maximum vs, Es was reduced between 18 and 40%. However, this correlation may not represent a cause-and-effect relationship. In a subset of trees, vs was artificially reduced by progressively removing the tree canopy. Reducing vs to near zero had no effect on Es and did not change the diel hysteretic response to temperature. Diel Xs tended to decrease with vs and increase with Es, however, in defoliated trees, large increases in Xs, when vs ≈ 0, had no effect on Es. We conclude that at this time of the year, Es is driven primarily by respiration of cambium and phloem tissues and that sap flow and xylem transport of CO2 had no direct influence on Es.