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Effects of grape vines on growth of sugar maple trees

Jack Gomez, Sam Sullivan, Chase Sadler, and Jason Kirchhoff

Introduction

We studied the effects of grape vines on growth of sugar maple trees in the DePauw Nature Park.  Previous research by Jessica Pond and Pooja Rathore found that growth of ash trees was affected by grape vines.  Ash trees with grape vines grew more slowly compared to ash trees without grape vines.

Hypothesis

We hypothesized that sugar maple trees with grape vines would be negatively affected compared to sugar maple trees without grape vines.

Methods

We selected 15 pairs of sugar maple trees along the W4 Trail in the DePauw Nature Park.  Each pair of trees was within 5 cm circumference and in the same habitat.  Within each pair, one sugar maple tree was colonized by a grape vine and the other sugar maple tree was not colonized by a grape vine.  Each tree was cored with an increment borer at chest height.  We measured the circumference and height of each tree.  We dried and sanded the tree cores.  We measured width of tree rings using a Velmex measuring system connected to a microscope.  

Results and Discussion

We found no difference in the growth rates of sugar maple trees with and without vines.  This could be due to sugar maple's tolerance of shady conditions.