, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 177-182

Effects of Flooding on Susceptibility of Taxodium distichum L. Seedlings to Drought

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Responses of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) seedlings to soil moisture were studied to test the hypothesis that flooding may lead to seedling's higher susceptibility to drought. Treatments included a well-watered but drained control (C), continuously flooded (CF), control followed by drought (CD), and flooded followed by drought (FD). Gas exchange values revealed no significant effects on net photosynthetic rate (P N) in response to flooding. In contrast, after the onset of drought, P N was significantly reduced in CD and FD plants. Significant growth reductions under mild drought conditions indicated that baldcypress seedlings were drought sensitive. However, comparison of gas exchange rates and growth responses between CD and FD plants indicated that prior flooding had no detectable effect on subsequent sensitivity of baldcypress to drought. These findings explain baldcypress persistence in wetland habitats characterized by periodic flooding and mild drought.