Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Improving confidence in tree species selection for challenging urban sites: a role for leaf turgor loss

Sjoman, H.; Hirons, A. D.; Bassuk, N. L.


High species diversity is argued to be the most important requisite for a resilient urban forest. In spite of this, there are many cities in the northern hemisphere that have very limited species diversity within their tree population. Consequently, there is an immense risk to urban canopy cover, if these over-used species succumb to serious pests or pathogens. Recognition of this should motivate the use of less commonly used species. Analysis of plant traits, such as the leaf water potential at turgor loss ((P0)), can provide useful insights into a species' capacity to grow in warm and dry urban environments. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate (P0) of 45 tree species, the majority of which are rare in urban environments. To help evaluate the potential for using (P0) data to support future decision-making, a survey of professionals engaged with establishing trees in urban environments was also used to assess the relationship between the measured (P0) and the perceived drought tolerance of selected species. This study demonstrates that (P0) gives strong evidence for a species' capacity to tolerate dry growing conditions and is a trait that varies substantially across species. Furthermore, (P0) was shown to closely relate to the experience of professionals involved in establishing trees in urban environments, thus providing evidence of its practical significance. Use of plant traits, such as (P0), should, therefore, give those specifying trees confidence to recommend non-traditional species for challenging urban environments.


Urban trees; Urban forest; Plant selection; Diversification; Trait based tree selection; Leaf turgor loss

Published in

Urban Ecosystems
2018, volume: 21, number: 6, pages: 1171-1188
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Gothenburg Botanical Garden
Hirons, A. D.
Univ Ctr Myerscough
Bassuk, N. L.
Cornell University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)