Canadian Forest Service Publications
Effects of heartwood formation on sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall) discoloured wood proportion
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 41021
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Sugar maple heartwood is more susceptible to decay and discolouration than the sapwood. To understand heartwood formation, foliage, sapwood, heartwood, and discoloured wood areas as well as other biometric variables were measured on 79 trees sampled in two sites in south-eastern Quebec, Canada. Tree growth was related to heartwood formation and discolouration with a modelling approach. Heartwood formation increased with tree height, age, and crown size, but decreased with increasing leaf area to stem basal area ratio. In general, the proportion of discoloured heartwood increased with an increasing rate of heartwood formation. However, for trees visually classified as vigorous, the proportion of discoloured heartwood tended to decline with an increasing rate of heartwood formation. This indicates that the size/age-related increase in discoloured wood proportion in sugar maple is possibly due to older trees being more likely to have injuries and inoculations by fungi. Thus, residual stands composed of high vigour trees can likely maintain higher growth while minimizing discoloured wood proportion.