I. Børja, J. Svĕtlík, V. Nadezhdin, J. Čermák, S. Rosner, N. Nadezhdina
Top-dieback of Norway spruce (Picea abies) trees has been observed in SE Norway. Trees usually die within 1-4 years after the first symptoms become visible and the dieback cause is unknown. The aim of our study was to establish when the irreversible spiral to tree death occurs. We assumed that hydraulic dysfunction, exemplified here by the sap flow reduction, was the final trigger of tree decline. We used the non-destructive heat field deformation method (HFD) to monitor the sap flow density (SFD) in non-symptomatic trees. After felling the trees we used the modified differential translucence method (MDT) to evaluate the sapwood translucence as an additional indicator of its functionality. In this study we show three examples of non-symptomatic trees with widely different sap flow densities detected by the HFD; tree A with unchanged sap flow throughout the monitoring period, tree B with decreasing sap flow in the last formed annual rings and minimal sap flow detected in tree C, which also started to show the first visible signs of dieback. In contrast, the MDT method detected in all cases functional (translucent) sapwood. In conclusion, we show that the sap flow reduction may occur during a relatively short period, prior to occurrence of any visual symptoms. Also, dysfunctions in sap flow could not be detected by the MDT method, as the sapwood still looked translucent and thus functional, although minimal sap flow was detected in that area by HFD method. Here we demonstrate the sensitivity of the HFD method in detecting the quantity of sap flow and thus a suitable diagnostic tool to evaluate the vitality in Norway spruce trees before the onset of visible disease symptoms.
Børja, I., Svĕtlík, J., Nadezhdin, V., Čermák, J., Rosner, S. and Nadezhdina, N. (2013). SAP FLOW DYNAMICS AS A DIAGNOSTIC TOOL IN NORWAY SPRUCE. Acta Hortic. 991, 31-36
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.991.3
heat field deformation method (HFD), modified differential translucence method (MDT), Picea abies, sapwood, spruce dieback, top dieback

Acta Horticulturae