In cities, landscape palms and trees are planted for scenic views and normally maintained with frequent irrigation. With similar water input, their morphological difference may lead to different water-use that varies seasonally. Thus, evaluating their water-use patterns is necessary to achieve proper urban water management. Here, we examined water-use characteristics of Tabebuia argentea and Ptychosperma macarthurii, a tree and a palm species, in a roof garden in Bangkok, Thailand. Self-constructed Granier’s probes were used for sap flux measurement and monitored for five months in 2016. Results showed that palm transpired 3–4 times higher water than tree daily. With frequent watering, tree was more sensitive to increasing vapor pressure deficit (D) than palm on rain-free days. When rainfall occurred, however, both species became less sensitive to D and continued consuming more water at high D. Extending the analysis to include a hypothetical warming climate with +4.8 °C temperature, we found that tree saved more water than palm on rain-free days. However, daily transpiration of both species increased similarly by 14–18% on rainy days. These results imply that Tabebuia argentea may provide ecosystem benefits by conservatively using water under drought and decelerating runoff from the garden when storms come. In contrast, Ptychosperma macarthurii may provide ecosystem disservice with high water-use in dry season but may slow down runoff in wet season and therefore benefiting downstream ecosystems. These findings are useful for selective planting associated with future changes in precipitation patterns, leading to sustainable urban water management.
Urban Ecosystems – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 8, 2018
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