Stem girdling manipulates leaf sugar concentrations and anthocyanin expression in sugar maples trees during autumn
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Tree Physiology. 28: 1467-1473.
To better understand the effects of sugar accumulation on red color development of foliage during autumn, we compared carbohydrate concentration, anthocyanin expression and xylem pressure potential of foliage on girdled versus non-girdled (control) branches of 12 mature, open-grown sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) trees. Half of the study trees were known to exhibit mostly yellow foliar coloration and half historically displayed red coloration. Leaves from both girdled and control branches were harvested at peak color expression (i.e., little or no chlorophyll present). Disruption of phloem export by girdling increased foliar sucrose, glucose and fructose concentrations regardless of historical tree color patterns. Branch girdling also increased foliar anthocyanin expression from 50.4 to 66.7% in historically red trees and from 11.7 to 54.2% in historically yellow trees, the latter representing about a fivefold increase compared with control branches. Correlation analyses indicated a strong and consistent relationship between foliar red coloration and sugar concentrations, particularly glucose and fructose, in both girdled and control branches.
Murakami, P.F.; Schaberg, P.G.; Shane, J.B. 2008. Stem girdling manipulates leaf sugar concentrations and anthocyanin expression in sugar maples trees during autumn. Tree Physiology. 28: 1467-1473.