Author(s): H Brix, A K Mitchell
Soil and tree water potentials were studied over a 10-year period in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsugamenziesii (Mirb.) Franco) stand that was treated when 24 years old with different thinning and nitrogen fertilization regimes. Throughout the 10-year period, thinning increased the soil water potential during the dry summer periods (July–September) by as much as 1 MPa both with and without fertilization. Fertilization effect on soil water potential was slight and only apparent in the latter part of the study in spite of large increases in leaf area (50% after 7 years) possibly because of better stomatal control of water loss. Fertilization increased water use efficiency. The favorable soil water conditions produced by thinning led to improved shoot water potential only during predawn and early morning. Removal of understory in a thinned and fertilized plot did not affect soil or shoot water potential.