Advertisement

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 244–255 | Cite as

The effect of urban ground cover on microclimate, growth and leaf gas exchange of oleander in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Erin C. Mueller
  • Thomas A. DayEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

We assessed how small patches of contrasting urban ground cover [mesiscape (turf), xeriscape (gravel), concrete, and asphalt] altered the microclimate and performance of adjacent oleander (Nerium oleander L.) plants in Phoenix, Arizona during fall/winter (September–February) and spring/summer (March–September). Ground-cover and oleander canopy surface temperatures, canopy air temperatures and pot soil temperatures tended to be lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt and concrete. Canopy air vapor pressure deficits were lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt plot. Rates of net photosynthesis of all oleander plants were highest in October and May, and declined through mid-summer (June–July), when rates tended to be highest in the cooler mesiscape, particularly when water was limiting. During fall/winter, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 20% less biomass, 13% less leaf area, and had 12% lower relative growth rates (RG) than those in the other ground covers. Lower nighttime temperatures in the mesiscape in December led to oleander frost damage. During spring/summer, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 11% more biomass, 16% more leaf area, and had 3% higher RG than those in the other cover types. The effects of urban ground cover on oleander performance were season-specific; while oleander growth was greatest in the mesiscape during spring/summer, it was lowest during fall/winter and these plants experienced frost damage. Because all oleander plants produced >10 times as much biomass during the spring/summer, on an annual basis oleanders in the mesiscape produced 5–11% more biomass than plants in the warmer ground covers.

Keywords

Growth Nerium oleander Photosynthesis Temperature Urban heat island 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank S. Wightman, J. Gallaher, J. Vannett and E. Foley for field assistance, and Duane Ray Architects, Rolands-Cox Construction, Desert Tree Farm, Brooks Turf, and Desert Composting for donating time and supplies. Drs. C. Martin and S. Szarek provided useful comments on this manuscript. Partial support for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant DEB-9714833, Central Arizona-Phoenix, Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER)

References

  1. Asaeda T, Ca VT, Wake A (1996) Heat storage of pavement and its effect on the lower atmosphere. Atmos Environ 30:413–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avissar R (1996) Potential effects of vegetation on the urban thermal environment. Atmos Environ 30:437–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badger MR, Björkman O, Armond PA (1982) An analysis of photosynthetic response and adaptation to temperature in higher plants: temperature acclimation in the desert evergreen Nerium oleander L. Plant Cell Environ 5:85–99Google Scholar
  4. Balling RC (1992) The heated debate: greenhouse predictions versus climate reality. Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  5. Balling RC, Brazel SW (1986) Temporal analysis of summertime weather stress levels in Phoenix, Arizona. Arch Meteorol Geophys Bioclimatol Ser B 36:331–342Google Scholar
  6. Balling RC, Brazel SW (1988) High resolution surface temperature patterns in a complex urban terrain. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 54:1289–1293Google Scholar
  7. Balling RC, Brazel SW (1989) High-resolution nighttime temperature patterns in Phoenix. J Arizona-Nevada Acad Sci 23:49–53Google Scholar
  8. Balling RC, Lolk NK (1991) A developing cool island in the desert? The case of Palm Springs, California. J Arizona-Nevada Acad Sci 23:93–96Google Scholar
  9. Barradas VL, Tejada-Martínez A, Jáuregui E (1999) Energy balance measurements in a suburban vegetated area in Mexico City. Atmos Environ 33:4109–4113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barradas VL (2000) Energy balance and transpiration in an urban tree hedgerow in Mexico City. Urban Ecosys 4:55–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Björkman O, Downton WJS, Mooney HA (1980) Response and adaptation to water stress in Nerium oleander. Carnegie Inst Yearbook 79:150–157Google Scholar
  12. Brazel SW, Selover N, Vose R, Heisler G (2000) The tale of two climates – Baltimore and Phoenix urban LTER sties. Climate Res 15:123–135Google Scholar
  13. Brown PW (2000) AZMET Computation of reference crop evapotranspiration. (Arizona Meteorological Network web site) http://ag.arizona.edu/azmet/et2.htm
  14. Bunce JA (1997) Variation in growth stimulation by elevated carbon dioxide in seedlings of some C3 crop and weed species. Global Change Biol 3:61–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Campbell GS, Norman JM (1998) Introduction to environmental biophysics. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Cornelissen JHC, Castro Diez P, Hunt R (1996) Seedling growth, allocation and leaf attributes in a wide range of woody plant species and types. J Ecol 84:755–765Google Scholar
  17. Day TA, Gober P, Xiong FS, Wentz EA (2002) Temporal patterns in near-surface CO2 concentrations over contrasting vegetation types in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Agric For Meteorol 110:229–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Valpine P, Harte J (2001) Plant responses to experimental warming in a montane meadow. Ecology 82:637–648Google Scholar
  19. Evans GC (1972) The quantitative analysis of plant growth. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  20. Ferrar PJ, Slatyer RO, Vranjic JA (1989) Photosynthetic temperature acclimation in Eucalyptus species from diverse habitats, and a comparison with Nerium oleander. Aust J Plant Physiol 16:199–217Google Scholar
  21. Goward SN (1981) Thermal behavior of urban landscapes and the urban heat island. Phys Geogr 2:19–33Google Scholar
  22. Grace J (1988) Temperature as a determinant of plant productivity. In: Long SP, Woodward FI (eds) Plants and temperature. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 91–107Google Scholar
  23. Graves WR, Dana MN (1987) Root-zone temperature monitored at urban sites. HortScience 22:613–614Google Scholar
  24. Honjo T, Takakura T (1991) Simulation of thermal effects of urban green areas on their surrounding areas. Energy Build 15/16:443–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hunt R (1990) Basic growth analysis. Unwin Hyman, London, UKGoogle Scholar
  26. Kjelgren RK, Clark JR (1992) Microclimates and tree growth in three urban spaces. J Environ Hortic 10:139–145Google Scholar
  27. Kjelgren RK, Montague T (1998) Urban tree transpiration over turf and asphalt surfaces. Atmos Environ 32:35–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lambers H, Poorter H, Van Vuren MMI (1998) Inherent variation in plant growth. Backhuys, Leiden, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  29. Lu J, Arya SP, Snyder WH, Lawson RE (1997) A laboratory study of the urban heat island in a calm and stably stratified environment. I. Temperature field. J Appl Meteorol 36:1377–1391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Magee N, Curtis J, Wendler G (1999) The urban heat island effect at Fairbanks, Alaska. Theor Appl Climatol 64:39–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McPherson EG (1994) Cooling urban heat islands with sustainable landscapes. In: Platt R, Rowntree R, Muick P (eds) The ecological city: preserving and restoring urban biodiversity. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, pp 151–171Google Scholar
  32. Montague T, Kjelgren R, Rupp L (1998) Surface energy balance affects gas exchange of three shrub species. J Arboric 24:254–262Google Scholar
  33. Montague T, Kjelgren R, Rupp L (2000) Surface energy balance affects gas exchange and growth of two irrigated landscape tree species in an arid climate. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 125:299–309Google Scholar
  34. Pagen FJJ (1988) Oleanders: Nerium L. and the oleander cultivars. Agricultural University Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  35. Poorter H, Remkes C (1990) Leaf area ratio and net assimilation rate of 24 wild species differing in relative growth rate. Oecologia 83:553–559Google Scholar
  36. Raison JK, Pike CS, Berry JA (1982) Growth temperature-induced alterations in the thermotropic properties of Nerium oleander membrane lipids. Plant Physiol 70:215–218Google Scholar
  37. Saito I, Ishihara O, Katayama T (1991) Study of the effect of green areas on the thermal environment in an urban area. Energy Build 15/16:493–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. SAS (1999) SAT/STAT User’s guide. Version 8. SAS Institute, Cary, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  39. Schmidli RJ (1996) Climate of Phoenix, AZ: An abridged on-line version of NOAA technical memorandum NWS WR-177. Weather Service Forecast Office, Phoenix, AZ. http://geography.asu.edu/cerveny/phxwx.htm
  40. SigmaPlot (2002) SigmaPlot for windows. Version 8.0. SPSS, Chicago, Ill.Google Scholar
  41. Taha H, Akbari H, Rosenfeld A (1991) Heat island and oasis effects of vegetative canopies: Micro-meteorological field-measurements. Theor Appl Climatol 44:123–138Google Scholar
  42. U.S. Census Bureau (1998) United States Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  43. Yamashita S (1996) Detailed structure of heat island phenomena from moving observations from electric tram-cars in metropolitan Tokyo. Atmos Environ 30:429–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Xiong FS, Mueller EC, Day TA (2000) Photosynthetic and respiratory acclimation and growth response of Antarctic vascular plants to contrasting temperature regimes. Am J Bot 87:700–710PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Zajicek JM, Heilman JL (1991) Transpiration by crape myrtle cultivars surrounded by mulch, soil, and turfgrass surfaces. HortScience 26:1207–1210Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations