VESICULAR-ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL (VAM) FUNGI ALTER ROOT GROWTH OF PROSOPIS ALBA (CHILEAN MESQUITE) IN CONTAINERS

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  • 1 Department of Botany, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-1601

Effects of VAM fungal inoculum, Glomus intraradices Schenk & Smith, on the growth of Chilean mesquite in containers were investigated as part of a nursery container system for production of xeric trees. Seedling liners of Chilean mesquite were transplanted into 27-liter containers filled with a 3 pine bark : 1 peat moss : 1 sand medium. Before transplanting, 50% of the trees were band-inoculated at a depth of 8 to 12 cm below the growth medium surface with 35 g per container of Glomus intradices (Nutrilink, NPI, Salt Lake City, UT), approximately 1,000 spores g-1. All trees were top-dressed with 15 g Osmocote 18N-2.6P-9.9K (Grace-Sierra, Milpitas, CA) and 3 g Micromax (Grace-Sierra, Milpitas, CA) fertilizers and grown in a fiberglass greenhouse under 50% light exclusion. After 4 months, all inoculated tree root systems were colonized, and the percent infection was 47%. Noninoculated trees remained nonmycorrhizal. There were no differences in height, total shoot length, shoot dry weight, or root dry weight between inoculated and non-inoculated trees; however, total root length and specific root length of inoculated trees were less than those of noninoculated trees. These results suggest that the VAM fungi altered the root architecture of inoculated trees such that root systems of these trees had thicker roots with fewer fine roots elongating into the growth medium profile.

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