Righting response of artificially inclined maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) saplings to wind loading

Tree Physiol. 2006 Jan;26(1):73-9. doi: 10.1093/treephys/26.1.73.


To determine if trees respond to dynamic and static loading in the same manner, 2-year-old maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.) trees were subjected to different types of mechanical loading in the field. One block of trees (the control) were kept in pots and planted in the field at an angle of 0 or 45 degrees to the vertical. A similar block of leaning potted trees was planted nearby and subjected to frequent, unilateral wind loading for a period of 1 s every 2 min. Half the leaning trees were oriented toward the direction of wind loading and half were oriented along the axis of wind loading. The stem profile was measured three times during the growing season to quantify the rate of stem straightening. Compression wood formation and stem shape were measured in all plants. No differences in mean height or diameter were observed between blocks and all leaning trees straightened, but not at the same rate. Although no difference in the rate of apical straightening occurred between control and wind-treated trees, the righting response of the basal part of the stem of leaning trees subjected to wind was four times greater than that of leaning trees without wind. No differences in the righting response were observed between leaning trees growing toward and trees growing away from the source of wind. No significant differences in compression wood formation were found between control trees and wind-treated trees, indicating that other factors must determine the reorientation rate of leaning trees. Results are discussed with reference to the quality of compression wood in conifers and the mechanotransductive pathway in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Pinus / anatomy & histology
  • Pinus / physiology*
  • Plant Stems / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Stems / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Wind*
  • Wood / physiology