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Budburst timing of valley oaks at Hastings Reservation, central coastal California

January 1, 2021

We studied the timing of budburst of valley oak (Quercus lobata Née) at Hastings Reservation, central coastal California. Similar to other taxa, budburst was advanced by warmer temperatures. Over the 30-year study period, however, there were no significant trends in either air temperature or the timing of budburst, except during the 2014–2016 drought, during which the earliest budburst dates were advanced. Several individual tree characteristics correlated with budburst timing, including access to ground water, soil available phosphorus, and elevation, the effects of which were in turn correlated with winter microclimatic conditions of individual trees. Budburst timing was significantly related to both subsequent acorn production and radial growth; trees leafing out on or near the population mean for the year experienced greater radial growth and produced larger acorn crops than trees leafing out earlier or later than the mean. Differences in acorn production were due to both differences in phenology among trees and plasticity in the phenology of individual trees across years, while differences in radial growth were primarily due to plasticity in individual tree phenology. Valley oak phenology exhibits considerable variability; the extent to which this plasticity will help this keystone California species adapt to future climate change remains to be seen.

Publication Year 2022
Title Budburst timing of valley oaks at Hastings Reservation, central coastal California
DOI 10.3120/0024-9637-68.4.434
Authors Walter D. Koenig, Mario B. Pesendorfer, Ian Pearse, William J. Carmen, Johannes M.H. Knops
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Madroño
Index ID 70233461
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center