Information on the heat resistance of silver maple (Acer saccharinum L.) could help develop stress-resistant Freeman maples (Acer ×freemanii E. Murray). Our first objective was to determine how 26, 30, 32, 34, and 36 °C in the root zone affect growth and water relations of plants from rooted cuttings of a silver maple clone indigenous to Mississippi (33.3 °N latitude). Fresh mass increased over time for plants at all temperatures and was highest for plants with root zones at 30 °C. Quadratic regression functions predicted maximal plant dry mass, leaf surface area, and stomatal conductance at 29, 29, and 28 °C, respectively. Stem xylem water potential (ψ) during the photoperiod decreased linearly with increasing root-zone temperature from -0.83 MPa at 26 °C to -1.05 MPa at 36 °C. Our second objective was to compare six clones of silver maple from the Mississippi location with six clones from 44.4 °N latitude in Minnesota for effects of 35 °C in the root zone on plant growth, stomatal conductance, and stem ψ. Provenance and temperature main effects were significant for most dependent variables, but there were no provenance × temperature interactions. Over both provenances, plant fresh and dry mass, leaf surface area, stomatal conductance, and stem ψ during the photoperiod were higher at 29 than 35 °C. Over both temperatures, plants from Minnesota clones had higher fresh and dry mass and more leaf surface area than plants from Mississippi clones. The lack of temperature × provenance interactions suggests that ecotypic or clinal variation in heat resistance is minimal and will not be useful for identifying superior genotypes for use in interspecific crosses with red maple (Acer rubrum L.).
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