Drought Stress and Recovery in Green Ash

in HortScience
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  • 1 Colorado State University, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Fort Collins, CO, 80523

During Summer 2005, green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica `Patmore') trees planted at the Colorado State University Agricultural Research Development and Education Center in 1996 were exposed to simulated drought by restricting irrigation for 33 to 41 days. During this period, predawn leaf water potentials in drought-stressed trees progressively dropped to a low of –2.04 MPa, while the control plot was maintained with full irrigation such that predawn leaf water potentials did not fall below –0.5 MPa. On 24 Aug. 2005, 31 days into this drought cycle, mid-day leaf water potentials and stomatal conductance were measured at –3.0 MPa and 22.63 mmol·m-2·s-1, respectively. Measurements in control trees collected at about the same time were –2.0 MPa and 169 mmol·m-2·s-1. The dramatic reduction in stomatal conductance in the drought-stressed trees began at about 10:30 a.m. and continued into the evening. Once irrigation was resumed, drought stressed trees rebounded from depressed predawn leaf water potentials and mid-day leaf water potentials and stomatal conductance and reached levels similar to control trees in 2 to 5 days. Stem flow gauges indicate that, during this period, fully hydrated control trees used about 250 liters/day.

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