Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2024

Crown structure, growth, and drought tolerance of true service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) in forests and urban environments

Schmucker, Julia; Skovsgaard, Jens Peter; Uhl, Enno; Pretzsch, Hans


True service tree (Sorbus domestica L.) is a rare native species of Central Europe. It grows well in dry and warm environments and may consequently be well adapted to the expected future climate further north. It is considered a potentially suitable species for climate change adaptation in forests and urban environments. In this study, we used total tree height, stem diameter, and crown dimensions of true service trees in Germany, southern Scandinavia, northern Italy, and Slovakia to determine the species' allometric relationships and space re-quirements. Additionally, we used tree cores from Germany and Slovakia and stem discs of a true service tree in Copenhagen to study growth patterns and drought stress response. Throughout, we compared to oak (Quercus robur L. and Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.), as common and well-studied species. Our results indicated that true service tree and the two oak species have similar growth patterns and space requirements. True service tree and oak both had a fast growth in their youth, followed by a gradual reduction at later stages. The crown projection area of true service tree was similarly influenced by competitors as that of oak, indicating a similar sensitivity towards competition. Likewise, we identified similarities in growth response to drought and, hence, drought tolerance. Due to their comparable growth pattern and drought tolerance, we hypothesise that oak, in many regards, can be used as a model species for the management of true service tree.


Allometry; Crown size; Drought response; Drought tolerance; Stem form

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2024, Volume: 91, article number: 128161

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)