Fini A.,University of Florence |
Frangi P.,Centro MiRT Fondazione Minoprio |
Faoro M.,Centro MiRT Fondazione Minoprio |
Piatti R.,Centro MiRT Fondazione Minoprio |
And 3 more authors.
Urban Forestry and Urban Greening | Year: 2015
The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of repeated pruning interventions using different pruning methods on growth and physiology of Acer pseudoplatanus L. Trees were pruned in 2008 and 2010 according to widely used pruning techniques for urban trees, such as reduction cut, removal cut and heading (topping) cut. Crown dieback, growth of the plant and of the pruned branches, leaf morphological traits and leaf gas exchange were assessed during the two growing seasons after each pruning cycle. Topping cut (i.e. the pruning treatment which suppressed the primary axis without providing a substitute) induced changes on tree growth pattern (i.e. by increasing the release of adventitious watersprouts and root suckers and decreasing stem diameter growth), which were not observed in the other pruning treatments. At the leaf level only topping cut increased leaf area at the expense of leaf mass per area, which may contribute to explain the higher occurrence of dieback on topped branches than in control and in the other pruning treatments. Also, leaves on topped branches displayed higher chlorophyll content and higher activity of Calvin cycle enzymes, which did not translate in higher CO2 assimilation. We show here that pruning method, not only its severity (i.e. the amount of leaf area removed), modulates the morpho-physiological response of trees to pruning and that maintenance of apical control and apical dominance are key issues to preserve a structurally sound tree structure, as well as the long-term efficiency of the photosynthetic apparatus. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH.