The influence of stem guying on radial growth, stem form and internal resin features in radiata pine
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Stem guying to prevent wind-induced swaying of radiata pine trees resulted in significant changes in radial growth, but did not affect the frequency of compression wood or resin features.
Mechanical stress resulting from wind forces acting on trees can cause a number of direct and indirect effects ranging from microscopic changes in cambial activity through to stem breakage and uprooting. To better understand these effects on radial stem growth and wood properties, an experiment was established in a 13-year-old radiata pine (Pinus radiata D Don) stand in which 20 trees were guyed to prevent them from swaying. Radial growth was monitored in these trees and 20 matched controls at monthly intervals for 5 years. The trees were then felled and radial growth, resin features and compression wood were assessed on cross-sectional discs taken at fixed locations up the stem. There was a significant reduction in radial growth at breast height (1.4 m above the ground) in the guyed trees, but an increase in growth immediately above the guying point. A total of 277 resin features were observed in the growth rings formed following guying. The overall frequency of such features was related to height within the stem and annual ring number. No effect of stem guying was found on the incidence of compression wood. Interestingly, the distribution of resin features also did not differ between guyed and un-guyed trees. There was no evidence of a link between stem restraint as a result of guying and the incidence of resin features, suggesting that other factors, such as soil moisture may be more influential.
KeywordsBiomechanics Wind sway Wood properties Stem form Resin
Author contribution statement
JRM was the primary author and analysed most of the data. DJC and RBMcK collected data on resin features and contributed to the interpretation of results. JRL arranged the collection of discs, undertook preliminary analysis of the data and assisted with an early draft of the manuscript. RKB assisted with monitoring of the trial, collection and photographing of the discs. TGJ helped with developing the initial trial design and collected data on tree growth during the guying period. GMD and JRM conceived the initial concept of the trial, developed the work plan and obtained funding.
Funding for the initial establishment of this experiment was provided by the Wood Quality Initiative Ltd. Future Forests Research Ltd. provided funding for the ongoing data collection, felling of the trial and analysis of the data. Rayonier | Matariki Forests provided the site for this experiment. Scion colleagues Mark Miller and Kane Fleet installed the guying cables and with Jason Bennett assisted in the felling of the trial. Dr Charles Sabatia provides assistance with the analysis of the growth response data. Dr Damien Sellier, Dr Jonathan Harrington and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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