, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 1247–1252 | Cite as

Reductions in net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance vary with time since leaf detachment in three deciduous angiosperms

  • Martin-Michel Gauthier
  • Douglass F. Jacobs
Short Communication


Key message

Compared to in situ measurements, net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were reduced 3–6 min after leaf detachment in Quercus rubra and Quercus alba, and 9 min after leaf detachment in Juglans nigra.


Collecting in situ gas-exchange measurements in canopies of mature trees is challenging, because the crown can be several meters above ground. Thus, we investigated the effect of detaching the leaf from the branch and time since detachment for three deciduous angiosperm species: black walnut (Juglans nigra), northern red oak (Quercus nigra), and white oak (Quercus alba). Results showed that net photosynthesis (A) was significantly reduced 3 min after leaf detachment in Quercus rubra, 6 min after leaf detachment in Q. alba, and 9 min after leaf detachment in J. nigra. Compared to the in situ measurement, a 72 ± 13% reduction (mean ± SE) in A occurred after 3 min in Q. rubra, a 74 ± 27% reduction in A occurred after 6 min in Q. alba, while a 41 ± 14% reduction in A occurred after 9 min in J. nigra. Furthermore, once the significant reduction in A occurred, it was maintained over the remaining time period for each species. Responses for stomatal conductance were similar to those of A. Results highlight the importance of measuring gas exchange in situ whenever possible. Otherwise, these results provide threshold time periods to carry out instantaneous gas-exchange measurements in the field for select hardwood species in which the canopy is difficult to access.


Tree physiology Leaf detachment Leaf excision In situ gas exchange Net photosynthesis Stomatal conductance 



Financial support was provided by the Fred M. van Eck Foundation of the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center and the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. Marie-Claude Lambert provided assistance with statistical analyses. Comments and suggestions from reviewers helped improve the quality of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no potential conflicts of interest (financial or non-financial).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration CenterPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.GatineauCanada

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