JOURNAL OF FORESTRY RESEARCH, cilt.29, ss.1741-1749, 2018 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
We tested the hypothesis that the biometrical characters of wood elements in ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior L.) become modified in response to the progression of disease caused by Chalara fraxinea. Anatomical analyses were performed on wood samples collected at breast height from the trunks of groups of ash trees which contained healthy, weakened and dead trees. We measured (1) tree-ring width, (2) earlywood vessel diameter, (3) earlywood vessel element length, (4) fibre length, (5) fibre diameter, (6) fibre lumen diameter, and (7) fibre wall thickness. We showed that tree-ring width diminished in all analysed groups during disease progression. However, the greatest suppression of growth was observed in dead trees. In both weakened and dead ash trees, the reduction in tree-ring width was accompanied by diminished vessel diameter in the earlywood of the outermost annual rings. The annual rings of dead trees had shorter fibres having greater lumen diameter and thinner cell walls. Consequently, water conduction in the sapwood of dead ash trees was less efficient owing to reduced vessel diameter, and this seems to be one of the greatest disease-induced morphological modifications. All the anatomical modifications might be due to leaf loss and crown dieback triggered by Chalara fraxinea.