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Growth, dry-matter partitioning, and specific mass of lamina of black maple (Acer nigrum Michx.f.) and sugar maple (A. saccharum Marsh.) irrigated at 10-, 26-, and 42-day intervals were compared. Total dry mass, stem length, and surface area of lamina were greater for sugar maple than for black maple for plants irrigated every 10 days. Reducing irrigation frequency curtailed growth of both species, but the reduction was greater for sugar maple than for black maple. The shoot: root ratio was lower for black maple than for sugar maple and was reduced by drought in both species, particularly among plants irrigated every 26 days. Specific mass of lamina increased as plants aged, was greater for black maple than for sugar maple, and decreased in response to irrigation at 42-day intervals. The slower growth, lower shoot: root ratio, and greater specific mass of lamina of black maple indicate this species has a greater capacity to withstand drought than sugar maple.

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Root hydraulic conductance is often expressed on the basis of dry weight or surface area of leaves or roots of plants produced in solution or aggregate culture. In this study, biomass partitioning and its influence on the interpretation of root hydraulic conductance data were compared in 21- to 63-day-old Gleditsia triacanthos inermis Willd. (honey locust) seedlings grown in solution and sand cultures. The ratio of lamina to root dry weight decreased as seedlings aged but was always greater for solution-grown plants than for sand-grown plants. Expressed on the basis of root dry weight, steady-state water fluxes at applied pressures ≥ 0.28 MPa and hydraulic conductivity coefficients declined with root system age, with a sharp decrease among solution-grown plants between ages 21 and 35 days. Such a difference was not detected using data expressed on lamina surface area or dry weight, illustrating that caution must be exercised when reporting and comparing the conductance of roots cultured in different media.

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Differences in native habitat and leaf morphological traits have prompted speculation that black maple (Acer nigrum Michx.f.) is more drought resistant than sugar maple (A. saccharum Marsh.). In this study, growth of potted seedlings of the two species irrigated at 10-, 26-, or 42-day intervals was compared. For plants irrigated most frequently, dry mass, shoot: root ratio, stem length, and surface area of lamina were greater for sugar maple than black maple. The impact of drought was more pronounced in sugar maple than in black maple, causing reductions in stem length of ≈ 60% in sugar maple and ≈ 30% in black maple. Specific mass of lamina tended to be greater for black maple than sugar maple, particularly after drought, and it increased over time in both species. The slower growth, lower shoot: root ratio, and greater specific mass of lamina of black maple indicate. it is more drought resistant than sugar maple.

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Growth of honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis Willd.) seedlings was studied during exposure to reduced osmotic potential (ψπ) and high temperature in the root zone. Half-sib plants were cultured in solution. Root-zone temperature was increased from ambient (23C) to 35C for 0, 6, 12, or 24 hours·day -l. Within each temperature treatment, solution ψπ of -0.05, – 0.10, and – 0.20 MPa were maintained by additions of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 8000. Root and shoot dry weights decreased with increasing exposure to 35C among seedlings in -0.05-MPa solution and decreased for seedlings in - 0.10- and - 0.20-MPa solutions in all temperature regimes. Growth of epicotyls displayed similar trends, but epicotyls of plants in -0.20-MPa solution were longest with 6 hours·day-l at 35C. Significant interactions between effects of temperature and osmotic regimes indicated that water-stressed honey locust seedlings are relatively insensitive to elevated root-zone temperatures. However, related studies showed that PEG caused reductions in growth that could not be explained by decreases in ψπ and suggested that responses of honey locust to PEG differed from those when drought was imposed by withholding irrigation in an aggregate medium.

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Traits associated with drought resistance vary with provenance of hard maples (Acer sp.), but the stability of differences ex situ and over time is unknown. We compared growth, dry-matter partitioning, leaf anatomy, and water relations of seedlings from central Iowa, eastern Iowa, and the northeastern United States over 2 years. Some seedlings from each of the three provenances were used as well-irrigated controls. The remaining seedlings were drought-stressed and irrigated based on evapotranspiration. Across irrigation treatments, plants from Iowa had shorter stems and higher specific weight of lamina, root: shoot dry-weight ratios, and root: lamina dry-weight ratios than did plants from the northeastern United States when treatments began. Biomass partitioning did not differ based on provenance after irrigation treatment for 2 years, but leaves from central Iowa had a higher specific weight, and their abaxial surfaces had more stomates and trichomes, than did leaves from the Northeast. Drought stress reduced conductance only in plants from central Iowa. Across provenances, drought stress reduced stomatal frequency, surface area of laminae, and dry weights of laminae and roots, and increased root: shoot dry-weight ratio. Leaf water potential of plants subjected to drought was lower at predawn and higher at midday than that of control plants. Drought did not cause osmotic adjustment in leaves. We conclude that the stability of foliar differences among provenances of hard maples validates using these traits as criteria for selecting ecotypes for use in managed landscapes prone to drought.

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Some buckthorn species from other continents have proven invasive in North American landscapes. Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana Walt.) is an attractive, native species that would merit increased use in horticultural landscapes if concerns about its potential invasiveness are allayed. Invasiveness often is associated with efficient use of water and other resources. We tested for differences between Carolina buckthorn and common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) in photosynthesis, aboveground dry matter accumulation, and water-use efficiency. Seedlings were grown in columns of field soil within insulated pots outdoors for 98 days. Net photosynthesis of Carolina buckthorn was 17% to 39% greater than that of common buckthorn through day 22. This difference between species was reversed through the end of the treatment period with a concomitant increase in leaf temperature of Carolina buckthorn. Final dry weight of aboveground tissues was similar for the two species, but a greater proportion of dry matter was partitioned to stems for common buckthorn compared to Carolina buckthorn. Although common buckthorn initially had higher water-use efficiency (110 mg·g-1 per day) than did Carolina buckthorn (60 mg·g-1 per day), the water-use efficiency of both species decreased to similar values for the remainder of the treatment period. We conclude that young plants of common buckthorn do not use water more efficiently than do young Carolina buckthorn under field conditions in central Iowa. Considering the possible species differences in the relationship between temperature and photosynthesis, comparative water-use efficiency should be tested further in other environments where Carolina buckthorn might be used for landscaping.

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Rhamnus alnifolia and Rhamnus lanceolata are shrubs of modest size with lustrous foliage. We evaluated seed germination of both species and propagated R. alnifolia by using softwood cuttings collected in early June. For R. alnifolia, cold stratification for up to 90 d resulted in 48% germination and a germination value of 1.9, whereas only 7% germination occurred among seeds stratified for 120 d. Seeds of R. alnifolia did not germinate if they were untreated or if scarified and stratified. Rhamnus lanceolata required 120 d of stratification to germinate, but percentages were low (≤ 5). Survival of germinants of both species was 90 to 100% regardless of prior seed treatment. Seedlings grew uniformly and had a mean leaf count of 11 and a mean height of 20 cm after 102 d. Application of 3000 and 8000 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) in talc led to 85% rooting of R. alnifolia, whereas rooting was ≤ 15% after use of solutions with those IBA concentrations. While 75% of untreated cuttings rooted, fewer roots formed without IBA. More roots developed in 100% vermiculite than in 1 vermiculite: 1 perlite (by volume), which also diminished the number and apparent health of leaves on cuttings during the rooting period. We conclude that talc-based IBA and vermiculite should be used to root softwood cuttings of R. alnifolia, and that both species can be propagated from stratified seeds. Rhamnus lanceolata is more recalcitrant than is R. alnifolia and merits further study to optimize germination success.

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Symbiotic associations between Alnus maritima (Marsh.) Muhl. ex Nutt. (seaside alder) and the actinomycete Frankia result in root nodules in which atmospheric nitrogen (N) is fixed. This has led to interest in producing seaside alders with minimal N fertilizer and in using the species on low-N soils. Our objectives were to determine how applied N influences nodulation and to characterize how short-term changes in root-zone N affect the function of established nodules. Seaside alders native to the Delmarva Peninsula (Alnus maritima subsp. maritima) were grown in perlite inoculated with soil from roots of indigenous plants. Plants were treated with N-free Hoagland solution supplemented with ammonium nitrate at 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.25, 1.5, 2, 4, and 8 mm for 10 weeks. Nodulation decreased as applied N increased. While plants treated with ammonium nitrate at 4 and 8 mm formed nearly no nodules, 0.5 mM resulted in vigorous, healthy plants that formed, on average, 70 nodules. In a second experiment, a nodulated population of seaside alders was established by treating seedlings with 0.5-mm ammonium nitrate in otherwise N-free Hoagland solution for 6 weeks. Plants then were provided ammonium nitrate at 0.5, 2, or 4 mm for two weeks. Acetylene-reduction assays showed that ammonium nitrate at 4 mm suppressed nodule activity. Daily irrigation with N-free solution subsequently led to a rapid depletion of root-zone N and a concomitant resurgence of nodule activity among plants previously provided 2- and 4-mm ammonium nitrate. These results provide useful information on how to manage fertility to optimize nodulation and show suppression of nodule activity caused by N fertilization can be temporary if excess N is leached from the root zone.

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Alnus maritima (Marsh.) Muhl. ex Nutt. is unique among alders in its degree of preference for low-oxygen soils of wetlands. An actinorhizal species with promise for use in sustainable horticulture, A. maritima develops a root-nodule symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing Frankia. Nodules of other actinorhizal species that are obligate wetland natives are adapted to low oxygen, and expression of hemoglobin is common to these taxa. Our objectives were to determine the range of oxygen tension under which Alnus maritima subsp. maritima fixes nitrogen and to investigate a potential role for hemoglobin in adaptation of nodules to low oxygen. Roots of plants, cultured aeroponically, were subjected to eight oxygen tensions from 0 to 32 kPa. After four weeks, plant dry weight, nodule fresh weight, nitrogenase activity, and photosynthetic rate were measured. In addition, nodules were assayed spectrophotometrically for the presence of hemoglobin. A quadratic function best described the influence of oxygen on plant dry weight, nodule fresh weight, nitrogenase activity, and photosynthetic rate with maximal values above 20 kPa. Alnus serrulata (Ait.) Willd. is sympatric with A. maritima subsp. maritima but is not an obligate inhabitant of wetlands. In a separate experiment, we found higher nitrogenase activity in A. maritima subsp. maritima than in A. serrulata (0.74 vs. 0.26 μmol/h per plant) at hypoxic oxygen tensions. Further, optical absorption spectra of nodule extracts confirmed hemoglobin within nodules of A. maritima subsp. maritima. Our data suggest that hemoglobin contributes to oxygen regulation in nodules of A. maritima subsp. maritima.

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Tolerance of shade, flooding, drought, and nutrient-poor substrate is desirable among ornamental plants installed in managed landscapes. Many attractive native taxa have not been evaluated for their resistance to environmental stressors. We assessed Florida corkwood (Leitneria floridana Chapman) in its natural habitat in four disjunct populations in the United States and tested the physical and chemical properties of the soil at the study sites. Measures at all sites were made within two weeks in late June, 2003. Leaf area, plant height, length of new shoots, and the rate of photosynthesis were higher among plants receiving more than 600 μmol·m-2·s-1 of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) compared to plants that occurred where maximum PAR was lower. Soil texture ranged from clay loam to fine sand, and soil pH across sites was 4.5 to 6.6. Concentration of nitrate-nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ranged from 3 to 75 mg·L-1, 7 to 11 mg·L-1, and 3 to 64 mg·L-1, respectively. Bases of plants in Florida were submersed in water, while soil moisture percentages in Missouri and Texas were 6 to 30. The apparent tolerance of L. floridana to shade, low and high soil moisture, and nutrient-poor soil in native habitats indicates that it could be used in a wide range of managed landscapes. Its capacity to adapt to shade may permit the use of L. floridana as an understory species in managed landscapes, but stewards of natural areas may need to maintain open sites within its native habitat to allow expansion of populations. Because this assessment of L. floridana included native populations across the natural range of the species, our results are uniquely suited for both horticultural and ecological interpretation and application.

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