The heat balance method of measuring mass flow of sap was tested on wax leaf ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.) to evaluate its usefulness for measuring water use in shrubs. Sap flow measurements were compared with gravimetric estimates of transpiration in growth chamber and field environments. Sap flow measurements in both environments were within 10% of transpiration, which compared favorably with results reported for herbaceous plants by other researchers. Sizable differences in sap flow, due mainly to differences in leaf area, were found among five plants tested in the field. When flow was expressed on a unit leaf-area basis, differences among plants were greatly reduced. Measurements under partly cloudy skies with fluctuating irradiance showed that changes in sap flow matched those occurring in irradiance.
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