, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 148-153

Conservation of element concentration in xylem sap of red spruce

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We investigated the chemistry of xylem sap as a marker of red spruce metabolism and soil chemistry at three locations in northern New England. A Scholander pressure chamber was used to extract xylem sap from roots and branches cut from mature trees in early June and September. Root sap contained significantly greater concentrations of K, Ca, Mg, Mn, and Al than branch sap. Sap collected in June contained a signficantly greater concentration of Mn than sap collected in September. Sap concentration was related to forest location for N and Mn. Variations in concentrations of N and K were significantly related to the interaction of tree organ and month of collection. Variations in concentrations of P, Cu, Zn, and Fe were not attributable to tree organ, month of collection, or forest location. Patterns of element concentration in xylem sap compared to previously published data on soil solution chemistry indicated a high degree of homeostatic control of xylem sap chemistry. This control likely represents a significant allocation of resources within the tree energy budget.

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