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Tree Physiol. 2000 Jul;20(13):909-13.

Measurement of sap flow in roots of woody plants: a commentary.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Western Australia, Nedlands.


Measurements of sap flow in roots have recently been used to study patterns of resource acquisition by woody plants; however, the various thermometric methods employed have yielded disparate findings. These findings may be harmonized by accounting for the phenomenon of reverse sap flow in roots. We suggest that only methods capable of measuring slow and reverse rates of flow and that do not require assumptions of zero flow during the night are applicable to studies with roots. The heat ratio method and the constant power heat balance method fit these criteria, whereas the constant temperature heat balance, compensation heat pulse and thermal dissipation methods do not.

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