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Root architecture, early development and basal sweep in containerized and bare-rooted Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Erik Sundström and Michael Keane
Plant and Soil
Vol. 217, No. 1/2, THE SUPPORTING ROOTS - STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION (1999), pp. 65-78
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42950613
Page Count: 14
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Root architecture, early development and basal sweep in containerized and bare-rooted Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
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Abstract

Seedlings grown in containers often have deformed, spiralling, kinking root systems (reported especially in pine growing in colder climates like Fenno-Scandinavia). The current study examines the effect of containers on the root systems of Douglas fir planted in Ireland. A sample of sixteen 10-year-old Douglas fir trees, planted as either bare-rooted transplants (2/1) or containerized seedlings (Paperpot 610 (2/0)) on an acid brown earth site in Ireland, were excavated for root achitectural studies. In addition to thorough above-ground measurements, an assessment of basal sweep was also carried out. Root systems were systematically described and horizontal angles, crosssectional areas (CSA), and maximum depths of all roots > 5 mm in diameter were recorded. Various biomass ratios and estimates for dominant roots were also calculated. Symmetry of the root systems, max. and min. numbers, and CSA of roots for sectors of various sizes were compared for the two plant types. The initially (when planted) bigger bare-rooted transplants were still larger than the container-planted trees after ten years. Of the total above-ground fresh weight, the container stock had allocated more to the crown and less to the stem compared to bare-roots. The difference in root weights between stock types was small. Basal sweep occurred on average in 50% of the bareroots and 35% of the container trees. The direction of the basal sweep leaning was concentrated to the NE, which coincided with the direction of the slope and the prevailing wind direction. No effect of planting position in relation to the direction of site preparation was found for basal sweep. The size of the root system, fresh weight and total cross-sectional area was on average for all trees correlated to both DBH and shoot fresh weights. For containers separately, however, only root area was correlated to DBH and stem fresh weight. In spite of the difference in the above-ground size, there were no significant differences in root numbers and root area (CSA) between the two plant types. No difference in rooting depth between plant types was found. When splitting the root system into 120° horizontal sectors (1/3 of the root system) the highest numbers of roots were concentrated in the NW direction. The highest amount of root area tended to be concentrated along a NW-SE diagonal, with a dominance for the latter (SE). Sectors without dominant roots (expected to be the future main structural, stabilizing roots), varied in size (94-178°) but were on average wider in bare-roots and on average concentrated in the NE direction and the downhill side of the slope.

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