DESICCATION OF WOODY STEMS INFLUENCED BY CONNECTED LIVE TISSUES
Forest Service research note
PACIFIC SOUTHWEST FOREST AND RANGE EXPERIMENT STATION BERKELEY CA
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Desiccation of small woody stems to their equilibrium water content is the critical requirement when using herbicides to dry wildland fuels before a prescribed burn. In an exploratory study, the desiccation rate dropped markedly if dead stems were connected to a live root system. A possible explanation is that water absorbed by live roots is transported through xylem tissue and keeps moisture in dead stems above atmospheric equilibrium for some time.