The effect of urban ground cover on microclimate, growth and leaf gas exchange of oleander in Phoenix, Arizona

Erin C. Mueller, Thomas Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We assessed how small patches of contrasting urban ground cover [mesiscape (turf), xeriscape (gravel), concrete, and asphalt] altered the microclimate and performance of adjacent oleander (Nerium oleander L.) plants in Phoenix, Arizona during fall/winter (September-February) and spring/summer (March-September). Ground-cover and oleander canopy surface temperatures, canopy air temperatures and pot soil temperatures tended to be lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt and concrete. Canopy air vapor pressure deficits were lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt plot. Rates of net photosynthesis of all oleander plants were highest in October and May, and declined through mid-summer (June-July), when rates tended to be highest in the cooler mesiscape, particularly when water was limiting. During fall/winter, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 20% less biomass, 13% less leaf area, and had 12% lower relative growth rates (R G) than those in the other ground covers. Lower nighttime temperatures in the mesiscape in December led to oleander frost damage. During spring/summer, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 11% more biomass, 16% more leaf area, and had 3% higher R G than those in the other cover types. The effects of urban ground cover on oleander performance were season-specific; while oleander growth was greatest in the mesiscape during spring/summer, it was lowest during fall/winter and these plants experienced frost damage. Because all oleander plants produced >10 times as much biomass during the spring/summer, on an annual basis oleanders in the mesiscape produced 5-11% more biomass than plants in the warmer ground covers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-255
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Fingerprint

asphalt
Nerium
Microclimate
ground cover
microclimate
gas exchange
Biomass
Gases
summer
Growth
biomass
canopy
frost
leaf area
Concretes
winter
Temperature
Photosynthesis
Gravel
Air

Keywords

  • Growth
  • Nerium oleander
  • Photosynthesis
  • Temperature
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

The effect of urban ground cover on microclimate, growth and leaf gas exchange of oleander in Phoenix, Arizona. / Mueller, Erin C.; Day, Thomas.

In: International Journal of Biometeorology, Vol. 49, No. 4, 03.2005, p. 244-255.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "We assessed how small patches of contrasting urban ground cover [mesiscape (turf), xeriscape (gravel), concrete, and asphalt] altered the microclimate and performance of adjacent oleander (Nerium oleander L.) plants in Phoenix, Arizona during fall/winter (September-February) and spring/summer (March-September). Ground-cover and oleander canopy surface temperatures, canopy air temperatures and pot soil temperatures tended to be lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt and concrete. Canopy air vapor pressure deficits were lowest in the mesiscape and highest in the asphalt plot. Rates of net photosynthesis of all oleander plants were highest in October and May, and declined through mid-summer (June-July), when rates tended to be highest in the cooler mesiscape, particularly when water was limiting. During fall/winter, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 20{\%} less biomass, 13{\%} less leaf area, and had 12{\%} lower relative growth rates (R G) than those in the other ground covers. Lower nighttime temperatures in the mesiscape in December led to oleander frost damage. During spring/summer, oleanders in the mesiscape produced 11{\%} more biomass, 16{\%} more leaf area, and had 3{\%} higher R G than those in the other cover types. The effects of urban ground cover on oleander performance were season-specific; while oleander growth was greatest in the mesiscape during spring/summer, it was lowest during fall/winter and these plants experienced frost damage. Because all oleander plants produced >10 times as much biomass during the spring/summer, on an annual basis oleanders in the mesiscape produced 5-11{\%} more biomass than plants in the warmer ground covers.",
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