Two experiments tested the effects of root pruning on growth during first-season production of pin oak (Quercus palustris Muenchh.). Experiment one tested the effect of root pruning developing radicles at 5, 10, or 15 cm (2, 4, or 6 inches) below the substrate surface. After 11 weeks, total root length was not affected by root pruning, but root-pruned seedlings had more main lateral [>2-mm (0.08-inch) diameter] roots than those that were not root pruned. Shallow pruning increased the number of main lateral roots. Experiment two tested the effect of initially producing plants in different-depth bottomless containers [5, 10, 15, or 20-cm (2, 4, 6, or 8-inch) depth] on growth after transplanting to #2 [6 L (1.6 gal)] containers. Shoot and root growth in #2 containers were lowest when plants were originally produced in 5-cm-deep containers. Plants with the greatest height and highest root:shoot ratios were obtained when plants were grown initially in 10-cm-deep containers. Predicted optimum depth of bottomless containers from regression equations ranged from 11.3 cm (4.5 inches) to 14.2 cm (5.5 inches) for the different growth parameters measured. The importance of these findings are: Pruning developing radicles of pin oak seedlings increases the number of main lateral roots but not overall root length. Growers can maximize growth in #2 containers by initially growing in 10-cm-deep bottomless containers before transplanting to #2 containers.
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