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  • Author or Editor: Chris A. Martin x
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This study evaluated the influence of social economic rank (SER) and neighborhood and park age on the composition and place of origin of trees in residential neighborhoods and embedded small urban parks in Phoenix, Ariz. During 2000 and 2001, trees were surveyed within an array of 16 residential neighborhoods and embedded small urban parks that spanned a range of socioeconomic rank (SER) and age. Parks were embedded within residential neighborhoods of similar density across three SER classifications, high, moderate, or low. Neighborhoods and parks ranged in age from about 1947 to 1997. Counts of all trees in each park were made and neighborhood tree composition was approximated by tree counts along four transects, distributed away from each park along streets in a northerly, easterly, southerly, or westerly direction, respectively. Transect widths extended about the depth of a front yard residence on both sides of the street. Park and surrounding neighborhood tree composition was calculated as total frequency (abundance) and taxa frequency (diversity) per hectare of landscape surface area. Tree abundance in parks was highest when surrounded by neighborhoods of high SER. Neighborhoods of high SER had greater tree diversity than neighborhoods of low SER. Distinct patterns of tree origin, dictated by both classifications of SER and age, were found. Overall, trees in residential neighborhoods and embedded parks tended to be indigenous to arid regions of North America, South America, Australia, south Asia, and China.

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Root growth of southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora Hort. `St. Mary') was studied for 16 weeks after an 8-week exposure to 30, 34, 38, or 42 ± 0.8C root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments applied for 6 hours daily. Immediately after RZT treatments, total root length of trees responded negatively to increased RZT in a quadratic pattern and the shoot and root dry weight of trees was similar. However, 8 and 16 weeks after RZT treatments, total root length responded linearly in a negative pattern to increased RZT, and shoot and root dry weight responded negatively to increased RZT in a linear and quadratic pattern, respectively. Root dry weight of trees exposed to 42C RZT treatment was 29% and 48% less than 38 and 34C RZT treatments, respectively, at week 8. By week 16, root dry weight as a function of RZT had changed such that the 42C RZT was 43% and 47% less than 38 and 34C RZT, respectively. Differences in root growth patterns between weeks 8 and 16 suggest that trees were able to overcome the detrimental effects of the 38C treatment, whereas growth suppression by the 42C treatment was still evident after 16 weeks.

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Urban sprawl of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area is rapidly replacing agricultural and non-irrigated desert vegetation with an irrigated urban forest comprised of a mixture of woody ornamental plant materials. Our objective was to estimate and compare the carbon acquisition potential (CAP) of residential landscape plants to the dominate plant species found in adjacent agricultural and desert sites. Maximum shoot and leaf gas exchange measurements were made at monthly intervals for one year (Aug. 1998 to July 1999) using a portable photo-synthesis system. Concurrent diel gas exchange measurements were made seasonally. Gas exchange measurements were made on alfalfa at agricultural sites, blue palo verde, creosote bush and bur sage at desert sites, and on a mixture of 19 different woody ornamental tree, shrub and ground cover species at residential sites. A trapezoidal integration model was used to estimate daily CAP at each site based on maximum assimilation flux values and seasonally adjusted diel assimilation patterns. Annual landscape CAP was then calculated as the summation of estimates of daily CAP. Calculated annual CAP was highest at agricultural sites (159.0 mol/m2 per year), lowest at desert sites (35.3 mol/m2 per year), and intermediate at residential landscape sites (99.3 mol/m2 per year).

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Growth and water use efficiency (WUE) of two Southwest landscape plants under various regimes of irrigation frequency was studied in a greenhouse experiment. Red bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima L.) and blue palo verde (Cercidium floridum Benth. ex A. Gray) were grown at three levels of irrigation frequency intended to mimic a range of watering practices determined via survey data from the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan area. During two irrigation cycles, measurement of mid-day water and osmotic potentials, lysimetric whole-plant transpiration (T), and mid-day shoot gas exchange was made. Irrigation frequency treatments affected Cercidium more than Caesalpinia. Frequent irrigations increased Cercidium shoot length and dry weight. For both species, infrequently irrigated plants showed patterns of osmoregulation in response to drying soil. Transpiration (T) was consistently highest for infrequently irrigated plants. WUE was affected by treatment for Cercidium, but not Caesalpinia. Gas exchange was unrelated to plant growth or T. Instantaneous transpiration efficiency (ITE) was negatively correlated to the ratio of intracellular CO2 to ambient (CICA) in all treatments, suggesting that under well-watered conditions, WUE might be reduced by negative feedback effects of high internal CICA ratios.

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Combustion of fossil fuels in urban areas might increase local atmospheric CO2 concentrations and could result in an urban to rural CO2 concentration gradient. Our objective was to ascertain if such a CO2 gradient exists and to characterize seasonal patterns of amplitude and distribution of atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan, area. Atmospheric CO2 concentration was measured along a series of gradients that transected the greater Phoenix metropolitan area in June 1999, in Dec. 1999, and Jan. 2000. Carbon dioxide concentration was measured with a portable infrared gas analyzer in open system mode from a mobile vehicle traveling at a constant rate of speed. All measurements were made around 0500 and 1500 HR on days when weather conditions were clear and calm. The CO2 intake port was located above the vehicle at a height of 2.5 m. Data were categorized based on distance from the Phoenix urban core, defined as the intersection of Central Avenue and Van Buren Street. Gradients of high to low CO2 concentration existed from city center to outlying rural areas. Carbon dioxide concentrations were highest during winter and varied most during the afternoon. Mean CO2 concentrations in central Phoenix were 12% higher than surrounding rural areas during summer, but were up to twice as high as rural areas during winter. We conclude that there is a potential for atmospheric CO2 fertilization of plants in the Phoenix area, particularly of urban landscape plants that are biologically active during winter.

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Seedlings of Olneya tesota A. Gray (desert ironwood) were grown in 12-L containers filled with a peatmoss and pumice substrate (1:1 v/v) for 3 months under simulated summer or winter Sonoran Desert conditions in a walk-in growth chamber. Growth room irradiance (550 mmol•m-2•s-1) was provided with an even mixture of mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium high-intensity discharge lamps. Growth room air temperature and relative humidity were ramped hourly to approximate typical summer or winter weather conditions based on mean seasonal climatological data for Phoenix, Ariz. For simulated summer conditions, maximum/minimum air temperature range was 40/28 °C and maximum/minimum relative humidity range was 25%/12%. Photoperiod was 16 h. For simulated winter conditions, maximum/minimum air temperature and relative humidity were 20/5 °C and 80%/35%, respectively. Photoperiod was 10 h. After 2 months, desert ironwood root systems were cleaned of substrate by floatation in a water bath, pruned to a length of 15 cm, repotted, and then grown for an additional month under the same conditions. Only 41% of desert ironwood survived root pruning under summer conditions compared with a 100% survival rate under winter conditions. For surviving desert ironwood, shoot and root extension growth was significantly greater under summer conditions.

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Effects of landscape design and land use history on gas exchange parameters were evaluated for woody plants in a factorial site matrix of formerly desert or agricultural land uses and xeric or mesic residential landscape designs within the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Ariz. Remnant Sonoran Desert sites and an alfalfa agricultural field functioned as controls. Residential landscapes and the alfalfa field were irrigated regularly. Monthly instantaneous measurements of maximum leaf and stem carbon assimilation (A), conductance (gs), and transpiration (E) were made within three replicates of each site type during 1998 and 1999. Measurements were repeated monthly on three woody plant life forms: trees, shrubs, and ground covers. Assimilation fluxes were not related to former land use, but were lower for plants in xeric compared with those in mesic landscapes. Transpiration fluxes were higher for plants in formerly agricultural sites than in formerly desert sites, and were lower in xeric than in mesic landscape design. Compared with plants in residential landscapes, A and E fluxes were generally higher for plants in the agricultural control sites and were lower for plants at the desert control sites. Plant instantaneous transpiration efficiency (ITE = A/E) was higher in formerly agricultural sites than in formerly desert sites but was not affected by landscape design. Patterns of A, gs, and shoot temperature at irrigated sites suggest that maximum plant carbon assimilation was not limited by shoot conductance but was more responsive to shoot temperature. Similarities in patterns of ITE between plants in the different landscape design types suggest that xeric and mesic landscape plants do not differ in terms of water use efficiency.

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Mulches applied to landscape surfaces can moderate soil temperatures by changing the surface heat energy balance and conserve soil water by reducing evaporation rates. In the Southwest, decomposing granite is commonly used as landscape mulch. However, organic mulches, such as pine residue mulch and shredded tree trimmings, are becoming more available as industry by-products. Recent impetus toward water conservation and recycling forest and urban tree waste into urban landscapes has increased the need to better understand how such mulch types effect the temperature, moisture. and light quality of drip-irrigated landscapes typically found in the Southwest. We compared effects of three mulches, two organic (composted ponderosa pine residue and shredded urban tree trimmings) and one inorganic (Red Mountain Coral decomposing granite), turf grass, and bare soil applied to 14 drip-irrigated landscape research plots on below-ground soil temperatures at depths of 5 cm and 30 cm, temperatures at the mulch-soil interface, mulch surface temperatures, diel mulch surface net radiation, and albedo. Below-ground soil temperatures were more buffered by organic mulches, and mulch-soil interface temperatures were lower under organic mulch than inorganic mulches. Inorganic mulch daytime surface temperatures were lower than organic mulch surface temperatures. Nighttime net radiation values were less negative over organic mulches than inorganic mulches and albedo was significantly higher for the inorganic mulch and bare soil treatments. These results provide evidence to show that organic surface mulches have higher resistances to heat transfer than inorganic mulches, which could improve landscape plant water and nutrient use efficiencies by lowering high summer root zone temperatures.

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Prosopis alba (mesquite) in 27-liter containers, either infected or noninfected with the VAM fungi, Glomus intraradix Schenk & Smith, during the container production phase were transplanted into a simulated landscape and irrigated at regular intervals or nonirrigated (irrigated only once at transplanting time). Mesquite shoot extension (SE), trunk diameter, rooting density (RD), specific root length density (SRLD), and VAM colonization levels were measured at 6 months and 1 year after transplanting. At 6 months, VAM colonization was observed only in the roots of inoculated mesquite, but by 12 months, roots of inoculated and noninoculated mesquite were colonized by VAM fungi. There were higher levels of VAM colonization in roots of irrigated mesquite (23%) in comparison to nonirrigated mesquite (5%). Irrigation promoted SE and VAM inoculation inhibited SE of nonirrigated trees. Trunk diameter was greater for irrigated trees than for nonirrigated trees and was not affected by VAM fungal treatment. At 6 months after transplanting, VAM fungal and irrigation treatments interacted to affect mesquite RD and SRLD. For irrigated mesquite, RD and SRLD were highest for VAM-inoculated mesquite, whereas for nonirrigated trees, RD and SRLD were highest for noninoculated trees. At 12 months after transplanting, mesquite RD and SRLD were higher for irrigated than for nonirrigated trees and were not affected by previous VAM inoculation.

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Leaf photosynthesis of Magnolia grandiflora `St. Mary' (13-month-old rooted cuttings) was studied when tree roots were exposed to 28, 35, or 42 ± 0.8C for 8 weeks. Root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments were sustained for 6 hours per day by an electronically controlled root-heating system. The experiment was conducted in a 3×7.5-m walk-in growth room. Growth room irradiance was supplied by eighteen 1000-W, phosphor-coated metal-arc HID lamps (photosynthetic photon flux = 600 μpmol-2·-1 at canopy height) for 13 hours daily augmented with 3 hours of incandescent light during the dark period. Leaf C assimilation (A) at an RZT of 42C decreased linearly over 8 weeks compared to leaf A at RZTs of 35 and 28C. Leaf A was similar for all trees at week 1; however, leaf A at an RZT of 42C was 30% and 34% less than at RZTs of 3.5 and 28C, respectively, at week 8. Stomatal conductance at RZTs of 28 and 35C increased linearly over 8 weeks compared to conductance at a RZT of 42C. Intercellular CO2 levels were not affected by RZT treatments. This finding suggests that reductions in leaf A were nonstomatal. Photosynthetic inhibition resulted in reduced shoot and root growth. Operators of outdoor container production nurseries should implement cultural practices that minimize exposure of tree roots to RZTs >35C.

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