Correlations between tree crown condition and shade tolerance, crown form, and light availabilityThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Individual tree crown condition is the result of a combination of many factors including genetic traits, growing site characteristics, and past and present external stresses (e.g., drought, insect outbreaks, fire, etc.). Shade tolerance and the extent to which terminal buds control the length and orientation of lateral branches (epinastic control) are the two primary physiological characteristics affecting crown condition, while light availability is likely the most influential environmental factor. The general literature suggests that shade tolerant species maintain denser, wider, and longer crowns than shade intolerant trees, and that regardless of shade tolerance an increase in light availability allows all species to maintain larger, denser crowns.