Estimating sap flux densities in date palm trees using the heat dissipation method and weighing lysimeters Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • not necessarily occur through the outer part of the palm’s stem, as in most trees. Therefore, it is highly important to investigate the variations of the sap flux densities and determine the preferable location for sap flow sensing within the stem. Once installed into fully grown date palm trees stationed on weighing lysimeters, sap flow as measured by the modified sensors was compared with the actual transpiration. Sap flow was found to be well correlated with transpiration, especially when using a recent calibration equation rather than the original Granier equation. Furthermore, inducing the axial variability of the sap flux densities was found to be highly important for accurate assessments of transpiration by sap flow measurements. The sensors indicated no transpiration at night, a high increase of transpiration from 06:00 to 09:00, maximum transpiration at 12:00, followed by a moderate reduction until 08:00; when transpiration ceased. These results were reinforced by the lysimeters’ output. Reduced sap flux densities were detected at the stem’s mantle when compared with its center. These results were reinforced by mechanistic measurements of the stem’s specific hydraulic conductivity. Variance on the vertical axis was also observed, indicating an accelerated flow towards the upper parts of the tree and raising a hypothesis concerning dehy drating mechanisms of the date palm tree. Finally, the sensors indicated reduction in flow almost immediately after irrigation of field-grown trees was withheld, at a time when no climatic or phenological conditions could have led to reduction in transpiration.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012