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Jessie M. Godfrey, Louise Ferguson, and Maciej A. Zwieniecki

Salinity’s many stresses may not kill a relatively salt-tolerant perennial in one season, but they can still deplete or modify nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) pools. Any change to the quantity or quality of NSC reserves may have detrimental effects on phenology and reproduction, as well as yield, in tree crops. This study integrates salinity’s infringement on the energy margins of pistachio rootstock ‘UCB-1’ (an interspecific hybrid of Pistacia atlantica and P. integerrima) at senescence by measuring sugar and starch pools in wood, bark, and roots after treatment with ≈100 days of moderate to high salinity (50–100 mm NaCl and 10–20 mm CaCl2). Supported by a second experiment using sodium orthovanadate (NaOV) to block active xylem retrieval in the same hybrid pistachio rootstock, we conclude that retrieval of Na+ from xylem sap may allow for the preservation of NSC pools (particularly, starch) in mature xylem tissues by limiting the demand for carbon-based osmoticum (sugars). In contrast, younger growing tissues (bark and fine roots) were found to counteract salinity by degrading carbon-dense starch into osmotically active sugars at the expense of total NSC reserves, suggesting a physiological shift toward protection/isolation from environmentally pervasive but potentially toxic salts in these tissues.