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Effect of shade stress on growth, morphology, and carbon dynamics of loblolly pine branches

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Shade treatments were applied to the terminal portions of branches in loblolly pine trees to test whether portions of branches were autonomous with respect to carbohydrates. The shade treatments reduced light by 50% and 72% compared with full sun conditions resulting in significant reductions in net photosynthesis. Branch growth (branch diameter and length, branch and needle biomass) decreased significantly within the shaded portion of the branch. Branch and needle morphology were also affected by shading. Lateral branches subtending terminal shoots were labelled with 14C 2 times during the growing season. No movement of 14C into the terminal portions of the branch was evident during the first growth flush. However, during the second flush of growth small but statistically significant amounts of 14C were imported into the terminal portion of the shaded branches from subtending laterals. It was concluded that loblolly pine shoots were usually autonomous with respect to carbohydrate supply, but that carbohydrate movement into the terminal shoot from subtending foliage could occur under conditions of very high stress.

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Cregg, B.M., Teskey, R.O. & Dougherty, P.M. Effect of shade stress on growth, morphology, and carbon dynamics of loblolly pine branches. Trees 7, 208–213 (1993).

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