Growth of sugar maple trees and element concentrations of soil and foliage were investigated at 12 stands in north-central Pennsylvania and southern New York. The goal of this exploratory study was to evaluate growth trends since the 1950s and to determine whether element concentrations were within limits conducive for normal growth. Basal area growth of overstory maple trees increased at six sites, declined at five, and remained nearly constant at one. Overall, the growth of overstory sugar maple trees did not change appreciably since the late 1950s, but growth of subcanopy maples decreased markedly, probably because of intensified shading in these maturing stands. Concentrations of Al, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, N, P, and Zn in soil and maple foliage were within the range of values reported for other sugar maple stands in North America. Calcium concentrations appeared adequate for growth, although at some sites they were near the low end of the typical range. Basal area growth of the overstory maples was correlated to the concentrations of Ca, Al, and the Ca:Al ratio of soil, whereas growth of the subcanopy maples was not. Growth of the overstory trees was also correlated to the Ca concentration of maple foliage, which in turn was correlated to pH, Ca, Al, and the Ca:Al ratio of soil. Manganese concentrations in soil and foliage were comparatively high, but were not correlated to trends in growth. The results of this investigation do not indicate abnormal changes in growth of sugar maple since the late 1950s. They suggest, however, that Ca availability limits growth at some sites and indicate that Al concentrations in the soil may be inhibiting Ca uptake.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modeling
- Water Science and Technology