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Open AccessArticle

Drought or Severe Drought? Hemiparasitic Yellow Mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus) Amplifies Drought Stress in Sessile Oak Trees (Quercus petraea) by Altering Water Status and Physiological Responses

1
Department of Integrated Forest and Landscape Protection, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 24, 960 01 Zvolen, Slovakia
2
Institute of Forest Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Ľ. Štúra 2, 960 01 Zvolen, Slovakia
3
National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 22, 960 01 Zvolen, Slovakia
4
Faculty of Ecology and Environmental Science, Technical University in Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 24, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovakia
5
Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamycka 129, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(11), 2985; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112985
Received: 15 September 2020 / Revised: 21 October 2020 / Accepted: 22 October 2020 / Published: 24 October 2020
European oak species have long been considered relatively resistant to different disturbances, including drought. However, several recent studies have reported their decline initiated by complex changes. Therefore, we compared mature sessile oak trees (Quercus petraea (Matt.), Liebl.) infested versus non-infested by hemiparasitic yellow mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus Jacq.) during the relatively dry vegetation season of 2019. We used broad arrays of ecophysiological (maximal assimilation rate Asat, chlorophyll a fluorescence, stomatal conductance gS, leaf morphological traits, mineral nutrition), growth (tree diameter, height, stem increment), and water status indicators (leaf water potential Ψ, leaf transpiration T, water-use efficiency WUE) to identify processes underlying vast oak decline. The presence of mistletoe significantly reduced the Ψ by 1 MPa, and the WUE by 14%. The T and gS of infested oaks were lower by 34% and 38%, respectively, compared to the non-infested oaks, whereas the Asat dropped to 55%. Less pronounced but significant changes were also observed at the level of photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry. Moreover, we identified the differences in C content, which probably reduced stem increment and leaf size of the infested trees. Generally, we can conclude that mistletoe could be a serious threat that jeopardizes the water status and growth of oak stands. View Full-Text
Keywords: hemiparasite; oak stands dieback; water deficit; mineral nutrition; photosynthesis; growth response hemiparasite; oak stands dieback; water deficit; mineral nutrition; photosynthesis; growth response
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kubov, M.; Fleischer, P., Jr.; Rozkošný, J.; Kurjak, D.; Konôpková, A.; Galko, J.; Húdoková, H.; Lalík, M.; Rell, S.; Pittner, J.; Fleischer, P. Drought or Severe Drought? Hemiparasitic Yellow Mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus) Amplifies Drought Stress in Sessile Oak Trees (Quercus petraea) by Altering Water Status and Physiological Responses. Water 2020, 12, 2985. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112985

AMA Style

Kubov M, Fleischer P Jr., Rozkošný J, Kurjak D, Konôpková A, Galko J, Húdoková H, Lalík M, Rell S, Pittner J, Fleischer P. Drought or Severe Drought? Hemiparasitic Yellow Mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus) Amplifies Drought Stress in Sessile Oak Trees (Quercus petraea) by Altering Water Status and Physiological Responses. Water. 2020; 12(11):2985. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112985

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kubov, Martin; Fleischer, Peter, Jr.; Rozkošný, Jozef; Kurjak, Daniel; Konôpková, Alena; Galko, Juraj; Húdoková, Hana; Lalík, Michal; Rell, Slavomír; Pittner, Ján; Fleischer, Peter. 2020. "Drought or Severe Drought? Hemiparasitic Yellow Mistletoe (Loranthus europaeus) Amplifies Drought Stress in Sessile Oak Trees (Quercus petraea) by Altering Water Status and Physiological Responses" Water 12, no. 11: 2985. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12112985

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