Effect of snow removal on leaf water potential, soil moisture, leaf and soil nutrient status and leaf peroxidase activity of sugar maple
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Effect of removal of snow cover in winter was investigated in an 80-year-old sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) stand in southern Quebec. We hypothesized that winter soil frost would induce some of the decline symptoms observed in sugar maple stands in southern Quebec in the early 1980's. Snow was continuously removed from around trees for a one week (partial removal) or for a four-month period (complete removal) during the 1990–1991 winter. Foliage and soils were sampled periodically during the summer of 1991. The complete snow removal treated trees showed decreased leaf water potential and increased peroxidase activity over most of the growing season. Foliar Ca was reduced in both snow removal treatments early in the growing season while foliar N was reduced in the complete snow removal trees late in the growing season. Soil NO3− and K+ were elevated in both snow removal treatments at various times throughout the growing season. Prolonged soil frost in a sugar maple stand can induce lower leaf water potential, higher leaf peroxidase activity and early leaf senescence during the following growing season. Soil frost may have reduced nutrient uptake without affecting significantly the leaf nutrient status.
Key wordsAcer saccharum nutrient status plant stress soil frost peroxidases
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