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Water availability effects on growth and phenology of 11 poplar cultivars growing in semiarid areas in Turkey

Abstract

In Turkey, current wood production does not meet the demand of wood-products, and this gap is expected to be larger in the near future. It is necessary to increase the productivity and growth efficiency of current forests and to expand the extension of forest plantations, including areas where drought is the main climatic constraint. Even though researchers are currently working on hybridization programs to improve the quality and productivity of poplar cultivars, there are still large gaps in the understanding of the effects of drought on the performance and physiology of these cultivars. We analyzed the effects of water stress on growth and phenology of eight cultivars of black poplar (Populus nigra), two cultivars of the hybrid P. × euramericana, and one cultivar of eastern cottonwood (P. deltoides). The objective was to identify the cultivars better-adapted to dry conditions in semiarid areas of Turkey. Cuttings of the eleven cultivars were grown under two contrasting watering regimes (well-watered and water-stressed). Tree height and ground line diameter were periodically measured along with phenological traits such as bud break, leaf loss, and infection by Cytospora chrysosperma, a common fungal disease in Turkey. Results from this study may help forest managers select better-adapted poplar cultivars for semiarid conditions. According to our results, we consider that cultivars ‘I-214’ and ‘Kocabey’ may be adequate alternatives, and cultivars ‘Ata-1’, ‘Gazi’, and ‘Geyve’ may not be preferred for planting under water-limited areas in Turkey and similar regions of the Mediterranean basin.

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Acknowledgements

We thank F. Alptekin Karahan and Ercan Özyurek, from the Central Anatolia Forestry Research Institute, and Bahadır N. Sanlı from the General Directorate of Forestry for their help during fieldwork.

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Correspondence to Claudio A. Guevara.

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Semerci, A., Guevara, C.A. & Gonzalez-Benecke, C.A. Water availability effects on growth and phenology of 11 poplar cultivars growing in semiarid areas in Turkey. New Forests 52, 411–430 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-020-09802-5

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Keywords

  • Growth parameters
  • Populus
  • Water stress
  • Phenology
  • Cultivar selection