Journal Article

Growth phenology of coast Douglas-fir seed sources planted in diverse environments

Peter J. Gould, Constance A. Harrington and J. Bradley St. Clair

Edited by Sean Thomas

in Tree Physiology

Volume 32, issue 12, pages 1482-1496
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Growth phenology of coast Douglas-fir seed sources planted in diverse environments

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  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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The timing of periodic life cycle events in plants (phenology) is an important factor determining how species and populations will react to climate change. We evaluated annual patterns of basal-area and height growth of coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotusga menziesii var. menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings from four seed sources that were planted in four diverse environments as part of the Douglas-fir Seed-Source Movement Trial. Stem diameters and heights were measured periodically during the 2010 growing season on 16 open-pollinated families at each study installation. Stem diameters were measured on a subset of trees with electronic dendrometers during the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. Trees from the four seed sources differed in phenology metrics that described the timing of basal-area and height-growth initiation, growth cessation and growth rates. Differences in the height-growth metrics were generally larger than differences in the basal-area growth metrics and differences among installations were larger than differences among seed sources, highlighting the importance of environmental signals on growth phenology. Variations in the height- and basal-area growth metrics were correlated with different aspects of the seed-source environments: precipitation in the case of height growth and minimum temperature in the case of basal-area growth. The detailed dendrometer measurements revealed differences in growth patterns between seed sources during distinct periods in the growing season. Our results indicate that multiple aspects of growth phenology should be considered along with other traits when evaluating adaptation of populations to future climates.

Keywords: Adaptation; assisted migration; budburst; cambium; dormancy; genecology

Journal Article.  9621 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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