ROOT CONDUCTANCE AND MORPHOLOGY OF SOLUTION- AND SAND-CULTURED HONEY LOCUST SEEDLINGS OF DIFFERENT AGES

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-5611

Root hydraulic conductance is often expressed on the basis of dry weight or surface area of leaves or roots of plants produced in solution or aggregate culture. In this study, biomass partitioning and its influence on the interpretation of root hydraulic conductance data were compared in 21- to 63-day-old Gleditsia triacanthos inermis Willd. (honey locust) seedlings grown in solution and sand cultures. The ratio of lamina to root dry weight decreased as seedlings aged but was always greater for solution-grown plants than for sand-grown plants. Expressed on the basis of root dry weight, steady-state water fluxes at applied pressures ≥ 0.28 MPa and hydraulic conductivity coefficients declined with root system age, with a sharp decrease among solution-grown plants between ages 21 and 35 days. Such a difference was not detected using data expressed on lamina surface area or dry weight, illustrating that caution must be exercised when reporting and comparing the conductance of roots cultured in different media.