Native plant communities and agricultural land are commonly converted to urban areas as cities across the Western United States continue to grow and expand. This expansion is typically accompanied by afforestation where a common goal among communities is to maximize shade tree composition. Planted forests in these regions are commonly composed of introduced tree species native to mesic environments and their ability to persist is dependent on consistent irrigation inputs. Many potential ecosystem services may be derived from planting trees in urban and suburban areas; however, there are also costs associated with extensive afforestation, and shade tree cover may have significant implications on municipal water budgets. In this study I evaluate variation in daily and seasonal water use of regionally common suburban landscape tree species in the Heber Valley (Wasatch County, Utah). I had two primary objectives: (1) to identify and understand the differences in transpiration between landscape tree species in a suburban setting and (2) to assess the sensitivity of sap flux and transpiration to variation in vapor pressure deficit, wind speed, and incoming shortwave radiation. I used Granier's thermal dissipation method to measure the temperature difference (ΔT) between two sap flux probes. The empirical equation developed by Granier was used to convert ΔT into sap flux density (Jo) measurements, which were then scaled to whole-tree transpiration. There were consistent and substantial differences in sap flux between tree species. I found that Picea pungens under irrigated growing conditions, on average, had Jo rates that were 32% greater and whole tree water use (ET) rates that were 550% greater than all other species studied. The findings of Jo may be partially explained by xylem architecture and physiological control over stomatal aperture. However, the rate of water flux in the outermost portion of sapwood does not necessarily determine the magnitude of whole tree transpiration. Rather, ET in this study was largely explained by the combined effects of irrigation, tree size, and sapwood to heartwood ratio.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bunnell, Michael Cameron, "Water Use of Four Commonly Planted Landscape Tree Species in a Semi-Arid Suburban Environment" (2015). All Theses and Dissertations. 6146.
transpiration, Granier method, thermal dissipation, sap-flux density, sap-flow, urban forest, Pyrus calleryana, Malus ioensis, Pinus contorta, Picea pungens