, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 1325-1330

Ozone and drought stress — Interactive effects on the growth and physiology of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.)

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Young trees of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) were grown in 120 litre pots under two different ozone levels in open-top chambers for three seasons, 1992–1994. The ozone treatments were charcoal filtered air (CF, average 24 h seasonal mean 6.5 ppb) and non-filtered air with extra ozone aiming to track 1.5 times ambient (NF+, average seasonal mean 34 ppb). In addition, half of the spruce trees in Aug – Sep each season recieved a drought period of between five and seven weeks. The remaining half were kept well-watered. The soil water content, the needle water potentials, and the gas exchange as well as the chamber micro climate were measured before, during and after the drought period. Furthermore, the growth of the trees was measured as biomass increase. During the 1993 drought period, where the trees experienced a moderate drought stress, the trees grown in NF+ consumed soil water faster and showed a higher needle conductance compared to CF. However, no negative effects were found on needle water potential or growth. During the more severe 1994 drought stress period we did not find any differences between the two ozone treatments in soil water consumption, needle conductance or needle water potential. There was a significant negative effect of the high ozone treatment on tree biomass of the well-watered trees. Total plant biomass was reduced 18 % and stem biomass was reduced as much as 28 %. The negative effect of ozone on tree biomass was much smaller for the droughted trees.