Seasonal and Clonal Variations in Drought Tolerance of Populus deltoides

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Can. J. Forest Res.



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Water relations of three field-grown eastern cottonwood (Populusdeltoides Bartr.) clones were compared for the 1989 growing season. Clonal and seasonal variations in leaf water potential, leaf osmotic potential, dry weight fraction, and injury index were measured. The injury index was calculated from conductivity changes due to electrolyte leakage during rehydration of dehydrated and nondehydrated leaves. When samples were measured after dry periods, dry weight fraction increased and injury index and predawn osmotic potential declined. There were significant negative correlations between dry weight fraction and osmotic potential for all clones. There were no significant differences between clones from Nebraska (Platte) and Indiana (Tippecanoe) throughout the season in osmotic potential and injury index. The clones Platte and Tippecanoe had significantly lower osmotic potentials than a clone from Ohio (Ohio Red) on most sample dates. When injury index values increased following favorable weather conditions, Platte and Tippecanoe had a significantly lower injury index than Ohio Red. Since all clones had lower osmotic potential, higher dry weight fraction, and lower injury index during dry periods, it was concluded that all had drought hardened during the period, indicating that all clones have some degree of drought tolerance.

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