European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

, Volume 77, Issue 6, pp 1045–1052 | Cite as

Exploration of seasonal moisture variation in standing loblolly and slash pine using time domain reflectometry

  • Robert B. White
  • Laurence R. SchimleckEmail author
  • F. Antony
  • R. F. Daniels


Seasonal variation in the moisture content (MC) of standing trees can have a significant impact on wood (and when harvested) log weight; however, its variation is poorly understood owing to the destructive nature of sampling methodologies. To improve our understanding of temporal moisture variation, low cost systems that continuously monitor MC of standing trees are required. Time domain reflectometry (TDR) was explored as an option to estimate standing tree MC. TDR data was collected from ten loblolly and ten slash pine trees growing on the Lower Coastal Plain of Florida and ten loblolly pine from the Piedmont of Georgia on a weekly basis for approximately 1 year. Site specific calibrations were used to predict MC, but owing to a pronounced wound response it was not possible to accurately track temporal changes in whole-tree MC. If calibrations more oriented toward living trees can be obtained, it may be possible to use TDR to monitor temporal changes in standing tree MC.



The authors thank the Wood Quality Consortium for assistance in collecting samples and for sample preparation. The support of Rayonier and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources is also recognized.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Antony F, Schimleck LR, Daniels RF (2012) Identification of representative sampling heights for specific gravity and moisture content in plantation-grown loblolly pine. Can J For Res 42:574–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck G, Thybring EE, Thygesen LG, Hill C (2018) Characterization of moisture in acetylated and propionylated radiata pine using low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (LFNMR) relaxometry. Holzforschung 72:225–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borders BE, Harrison WM (1989) Comparison of slash pine and loblolly pine performance on cutover site-prepared sites in the coastal plain of Georgia and Florida. South J Appl For 13:204–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cerny R (2009) Time-domain reflectometry method and its application for measuring moisture content in porous materials: a review. Measurement 42:329–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Constantz J, Murphy F (1990) Monitoring moisture storage in trees using time domain reflectometry. J Hydrol 119:31–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook SP, Hain FP (1985) Qualitative examination of the hypersensitive response of loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L., inoculated with two fungal associates of the southern pine beetle, Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann. Environ Entomol 14:396–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dahlen J, Antony F, Li A, Love-Myers K, Schimleck LR, Schilling E (2015) Automated time-domain reflectometry signal analysis for prediction of loblolly pine and sweetgum moisture content. BioResources 10:4947–4960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Edwards W, Jarvis P (1983) A method for measuring radial differences in water-content of intact tree stems by attenuation of gamma-radiation. Plant Cell Environ 6:255–260Google Scholar
  9. Glass SV, Zelinka SL (2010) Moisture relations and physical properties of wood. In: Ross RJ (ed) Wood handbook, US For Serv Forest Products Laboratory, FPL-GTR-190, pp 4–2Google Scholar
  10. Hernández-Santana V, Martínez-Fernández J (2008) TDR measurement of stem and soil water content in two Mediterranean oak species. Hydrol Sci J 53:921–931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Holbrook NM, Sinclair TR, Burns MJ (1992) Frequency and time-domain dielectric measurements of stem water content in the arborescent palm, Sabal palmetto. J Exp Bot 43:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Huggett R, Wear DN, Li R, Coulston J, Liu S (2013) Forest forecasts. In: Wear DN, Greis JG (eds) The Southern Forest Future Project: technical report, US For Serv Southern Research Station, FPL-SRS-178, pp 73–101Google Scholar
  13. Irvine J, Grace J (1997) Non-destructive measurement of stem water content by time domain reflectometry using short probes. J Exp Bot 48:813–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jones PD, Schimleck LR, Daniels RF, Clark A, Purnell RC (2008) Comparison of Pinus taeda L. whole-tree wood property calibrations using diffuse reflectance near infrared spectra obtained using a variety of sampling options. Wood Sci Technol 42:385–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jordan L, Clark A, Schimleck LR, Hall DB, Daniels RF (2008) Regional variation in wood specific gravity of planted loblolly pine in the United States. Can J For Res 38:698–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ledieu J, De Ridder P, De Clerck P, Dautrebande S (1986) A method of measuring soil moisture by time domain reflectometry. J Hydrol 88:319–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lindgren O, Seifert T, Du Plessis A (2016) Moisture content measurements in wood using dual-energy CT scanning—a feasibility study. Wood Mater Sci Eng 11:312–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Megraw R (1985) Wood quality factors in loblolly pine. TAPPI Press, AtlantaGoogle Scholar
  19. Merela M, Oven P, Sersa I, Mikac U (2009) A single point NMR method for an instantaneous determination of the moisture content of wood. Holzforschung 63:348–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mora C, Schimleck LR, Yoon S-C, Thai CN (2011) Determination of basic density and moisture content of loblolly pine wood disks using a NIR hyperspectral imaging system. J Near Infrared Spectrosc 19:401–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nadler A, Raveh E, Yermiyahu U, Green SR (2003) Evaluation of TDR use to monitor water content in stem of lemon trees and soil and their response to water stress. Soil Sci Soc Am J 67:437–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Panshin AJ, de Zeeuw C (1980) Textbook of wood technology, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Patterson DW, Doruska PF (2005) Effect of seasonality on bulk density, moisture content, and specific gravity of loblolly pine tree-length pulpwood logs in Southern Arkansas. For Prod J 55(12):204–208Google Scholar
  24. Pettinelli E, Cereti A, Galli A, Bella F (2002) Time domain reflectometry: calibration techniques for accurate measurement of the dielectric properties of various materials. Rev Sci Instrum 73:3553–3562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Raschi A, Tognetti R, Ridder HW, Béres C (1995) Water in the stems of sessile oak (Quercus petraea) assessed by computer tomography with concurrent measurements of sap velocity and ultrasound emission. Plant Cell Environ 18:545–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raybon H, Schimleck LR, Love-Myers K, Antony F, Sanders J, Daniels R, Andrews E, Schilling E (2015) Examination of the potential to reduce water application rates in pine wetdecks. Tappi J 14:675–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Raybon H, Schimleck LR, Love-Myers K, Antony F, Sanders J, Daniels R, Andrews E, Schilling E (2016) Examination of the potential to reduce water application rates for hardwood pulplogs stored in wet decks. Tappi J 15:515–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reid RW, Whitney HS, Watson JA (1967) Reactions of lodgepole pine to attack by Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins and blue stain fungi. Can J Bot 45:1115–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schimleck L, Love-Meyers K, Sanders J, Raybon H, Daniels R, Mahon J, Andrews E, Schilling E (2011) Measuring the moisture content of green wood using time domain reflectometry. For Prod J 61:428–434Google Scholar
  30. Schimleck LR, Love-Myers K, Sanders J, Raybon H, Daniels R, Andrews E, Schilling E (2013) Examination of moisture content variation within an operational wetdeck. Tappi J 12:45–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shiver BD, Rheney JW, Hitch KL (2000) Loblolly pine outperforms slash pine in southeastern Georgia and northern Florida. South J Appl For 24:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Shmulsky R, Jones PD (2011) Forest products and wood science: an introduction, 6th edn. Wiley-Blackwell, West SussexCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sparks JP, Gaylon S, Campbell R, Black A (2001) Water content, hydraulic conductivity, and ice formation in winter stems of Pinus contorta: a TDR case study. Oecologia 127:468–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taras MA (1956) Buying pulpwood by weight as compared with volume measure. US For Serv Southeastern Forest Exp Station, Paper No. 74Google Scholar
  35. Wear DN, Greis JG (2012) The Southern Forest Futures Project: summary report. US For Serv Southern Research Station, GTR-SRS-168Google Scholar
  36. Wullschleger S, Hanson P, Todd D (1996) Measuring stem water content in four deciduous hardwoods with a time-domain reflectometer. Tree Physiol 16:809–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wood Science and Engineering, College of ForestryOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations