The measurement of plant vitality in landscape trees

Denise Johnstone*, Gregory Moore, Michael Tausz, Marc Nicolas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding plant vitality is essential to the maintenance of healthy trees in urban environments. Tree vitality is difficult to quantify, but is usually assessed by tree growth and physiological measurements. A review of current methods used for the field measurement of plant vitality in landscape trees is presented. Methods are compared in terms of their ease of use, reliability, versatility and portability. Tree growth and visual assessment methods are an accurate, if gross measure of tree vitality. Cambial electrical resistance was a popular method for measuring tree vitality in the 1980s and 1990s, but has had variable results when compared to tree growth measurements. Methods that assess chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll content or antioxidant levels have potential for assessing the plant vitality. However, these have not been widely assessed for use on landscape trees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalArboricultural Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • plant stress
  • tree condition
  • tree health
  • tree vigour
  • tree vitality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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