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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

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The generation of longitudinal maturation stress in wood is not dependent on diurnal changes in diameter of trunk


A hypothetical mechanism for the generation of maturation stress in wood was tested experimentally. The hypothesis was that the maturation stress could partly originate in a physical mechanism related to daily changes in water pressure and associated diurnal strains. The matrix of lignin and hemicellulose, deposited in the cell wall during the night, would be put in compression by the effect of water tension during the next day. The cellulose framework, crystallizing during the day, would be put in tension by the decrease in tension at night and subsequent cell-wall swelling. This was tested on young saplings of sugi and beech. Half of the saplings were submitted to continuous lighting, which canceled diurnal strains. Saplings were tilted 40 degrees, and their uprighting movement was measured. The uprighting movement is directly due to the production of reaction wood and the concomitant development of large longitudinal maturation stress. It occurred in the continuously lighted plants at least as much as in control plants. We conclude that the generation of longitudinal maturation stress in tension or compression wood is not directly related to variations in water pressure and diurnal strains.


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Correspondence to Tancrède Alméras.

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Alméras, T., Yoshida, M. & Okuyama, T. The generation of longitudinal maturation stress in wood is not dependent on diurnal changes in diameter of trunk. J Wood Sci 52, 452–455 (2006).

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Key words

  • Maturation stress
  • Growth stress
  • Cell-wall maturation
  • Continuous lighting
  • Diurnal strains