Canadian Forest Service Publications

Allometries of coarse tree, stem, and crown measures in Douglas-fir are altered by Armillaria root disease. 2012. Cruickshank, M.G.; Filipescu, C.N. Botany 90(8): 711-721.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Canadian Wood Fibre Centre

Catalog ID: 34194

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download), PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/b2012-040

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We used allometric relationships to quantify Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) stem and crown adaptation to Armillaria root disease (caused by Armillaria ostoyae (Romagn.) Herink). At four sites, we measured height, diameter, height to live crown, crown width and length, sapwood area at base of live crown, and infection duration for healthy and infected Douglas-fir trees. Diseased trees were on average smaller than healthy trees for all measured variables, but there were also proportional changes between tree parts suggesting allocation shifts to disease. Infected trees were shorter in relation to stem diameter compared with healthy trees by 4% on average. Crown diameter was positively related to stem diameter (0.24°m cm-1) but not to disease or competition. Diseased tree crown lengths were on average 0.5°m shorter for a given crown diameter than healthy trees—akin to response to light competition except this also occurred in the upper canopy. Prolonged infection reduced crown length probably through shedding of lower branches and by reducing stem apical growth, possibly related to changed hydraulic architecture or light requirements. Crown surface area was related to stem sapwood area (0.81°m2 cm-2) but unaffected by disease or competition. We discuss how shifting allocation could reveal important implications for life strategies involving whole tree adaptations to disease and tree to tree interactions, and for wood quality and forest inventory.