Intra-annual tracheid production in balsam fir stems and the effect of meteorological variables
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Tracheid production of balsam fir in the Québec boreal forest (Canada) was studied by repeated cell analysis to investigate the influence of meteorological variables during the growing seasons 1998 to 2000. Wood micro-cores were extracted on a weekly basis throughout the growing season and sections were prepared in order to count the total number of cells produced. From the weekly cell number obtained, the rate of tracheid production was calculated and correlated with meteorological variables. The average total number of cells produced per year was reasonably uniform, increasing only from 36.6 in 1998, to 41.1 in 2000. However, different cell production rates were noted during the growing season. Regression analysis revealed that the cell production rate was largely dependent on minimum air and soil temperature during most of the cell production period. Mean and maximum temperature had less influence on cell production. Moreover, the influence of temperature was higher during earlywood production mainly from the end of May to mid-July. Lagging the weather data by 1–5 days decreased the relationship between temperature and cell production, showing the high correspondence with the same interval where cell production was measured. These results suggest a fast response of the cambium to temperature variation during tree-ring formation.