Hydrologic effects on diameter growth phenology for Celtis laevigata and Quercus lyrata in the floodplain of the lower White River, ArkansasThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Bottomland hardwood (BLH) forests represent an extensive wetland system in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and southeastern USA, and it is currently undergoing widespread transition in species composition. One such transition involves increased establishment of sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), and decreased establishment of overcup oak (Quercus lyrata). The ecological mechanisms that control this transition are not well understood. We measured monthly diameter growth with dendrometer bands on 86 sugarberry and 42 overcup oak trees at eight sites in the floodplain of the White River (AR, USA) with differing hydrologic regimes. For both species, growth attenuated earlier at drier sites compared to wetter sites. Overcup oak grew slightly longer through late August, suggesting its growth period extends across both wet and dry periods. In contrast, sugarberry growth rate decreased substantially by mid-July. While these results did not necessarily indicate a mechanism for increased prominence of sugarberry, they suggest sugarberry growing season does not as much coinide with the typically drier period of late summer and may be less affected by these conditions. Overcup oak grows later into the dry season and water table conditions during this period may determine if overcup oak benefits from this relatively extended growth period.