600 PB 208 ROOT ADAPTATION TO COMPETITION

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  • 1 USDA-ARS-Appalachian Fruit Res. Sta. 45 Wiltshire Road Kearneysville, WV 25430

The effect of ground covers on water uptake was studied using peach trees grown in a 4-part split root system. In 1992, one section of the root system was in bare soil and 3 sections were in combination with `K-31' tall fescue. In 1993, K-31 was eliminated in 2 additional sections, leaving 1 section in combination with `K-31'. When grass transpiration was suppressed by covering the K-31, tree water uptake/cm of root length was greater in the presence of grass compared to bare soil under well watered conditions. These data indicate that peach trees compensate for interspecific competition by increasing root hydraulic conductivity.

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