We studied diurnal changes in water conduction during soil dehydration in 37-month-old seedlings of one Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana Mill.) and two loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) sources, one from North Carolina (NC) and the other from the 'Lost Pines' areas of Texas (TX), in an environmentally controlled growth chamber. For seedlings of similar biomass, the TX source had higher values of transpiration, needle conductance, and plant hydraulic conductivity under well-watered conditions than the NC source. Under dry soil conditions, the TX source had lower values of water conduction than the NC source. The Virginia pine source responded similarly to the TX source under both well-watered and dry soil conditions. For all three pine sources, gradients between soil and needle water potentials were greatest when the seedlings were moderately stressed. The TX and Virginia pine sources had higher gradients and lower daytime needle water potentials under moderate stress conditions than the NC source. Predawn needle water potentials did not differ among the pine sources. We conclude that the TX and Virginia pine sources have decreased daytime needle water potentials and increased water potential gradients during the daytime under moderate stress conditions, but with no disruption of recovery at predawn. The greater rates of transpiration and water conduction by the TX source compared with the NC source under well-watered conditions suggest a means by which growth can be maximized prior to the onset of drought, thereby enhancing survival of loblolly pines in drought-prone environments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science