This research examines the influence of western dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium campylopodum) infection on the radial growth response of mature ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) and its effects on dendroclimatic reconstructions. I hypothesize that trees with mistletoe have lower annual growth rates than uninfected trees, but exhibit higher mean sensitivities and stronger relationships between growth and climate variation. I tested these hypotheses using correlation and regression analyses to compare 100-year crossdated and standardized tree-ring chronologies from 26 infected and 29 uninfected trees. I compared both chronologies to climate variation as measured by changes in total precipitation, minimum, mean, and maximum temperature, and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). Results show that trees infected with dwarf mistletoe have higher radial growth rates, exhibit greater sensitivity, and respond more strongly to climate variation. Both infected and uninfected chronologies are significantly correlated with the respective climate variables, but exhibit different patterns. The strongest correlations are between infected trees and PDSI for all months tested; significant correlations between uninfected trees and PDSI are limited to May through December lagged from the previous year. These results suggest mistletoe-infected trees are more sensitive to climatic factors than uninfected trees and may be useful for dendroclimatic analyses.
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