and water and/or to higher photosynthetic capacity. However, visual differences in root architecture or abundance could not be established when trees from each propagation treatment were excavated. Similarly, higher photosynthetic rates could have
Ricardo Goenaga, Mark Guiltinan, Siela Maximova, Ed Seguine, and Heber Irizarry
Rong Zhang, Zhubing Yan, Yikun Wang, Xuesen Chen, Chengmiao Yin, and Zhiquan Mao
. Root length, total root volume, total root surface area, and other root architectural parameters were measured. Measurement of root respiration rate. To measure root respiration rate, 0.05 g of fresh white roots was obtained from the seedlings
Root architecture can be very important in plant productivity. The importance of studies on root morphology and development is discussed to improve seedling growth. Root systems of dicotyledonous species are reviewed, with emphasis on differences between growth of basal and lateral roots. The presence of different types of roots in plant species suggests possible differences in function as well. The architecture of a root system related to its functions is considered. Classical methods for studying root systems comprise excavation of root system, direct observation, and indirect analyses. While the first method is destructive and the third is effective in understanding root architecture only on a relatively gross scale, observation methods allow the scientist a complete a nondestructive architectural study of a root system. The three groups are reviewed related to their potential to give valuable information related to the root architecture and development of the seedling, with emphasis on the availability of a medium-transparent plant-growing system, enabling nondestructive daily observations and plant measurements under controlled environmental conditions. Effects of CO2 enrichment on seedling growth is reviewed, emphasizing the effects of CO2 on root growth.
Michael A. Arnold
Interest in chemical modification of root systems of container-grown trees has increased in recent years with more widespread recognition of implications of root system architecture of container-grown trees on subsequent landscape performance. Initial research on Cu-based latex materials for application to interior container surfaces to avoid circled, matted, and kinked roots at container wall: media interfaces began with small forest tree liners in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Transfer of this technology to horticultural crops followed from the mid-1980s to the present. Testing has spread to a wide range of temperate and tropical landscape trees, shrubs, herbaceous annuals and perennials, interior foliage plants, and vegetable transplants. Inhibition of root elongation after contact with treated container surfaces is via a mild Cu toxicity, frequently resulting in a stimulation of lateral root proliferation proximal to the inhibited root tip, but responses vary with species, cultivar, media composition and pH, and Cu concentration and formulation. Early reports on root architecture effects were predominantly qualitative in nature. Quantitative studies on root architecture within treated containers have been less consistent in responses among species. Improvements in root regeneration, shoot growth, and water relations during post-transplant field establishment of trees grown in Cu-treated vs. non-treated containers have been documented for several species. Ecological (Cu leaching potential), technological (new applications), and economic (profitability) questions have arisen with increased use and availability of Cu-based container treatments and will be discussed.
James L. Gibson, Brian E. Whipker, Dharmalingam S. Pitchay, Paul V. Nelson, and C. Ray Campbell
Elemental deficiencies of N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and B were induced in `Osaka White' ornamental cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. acephala L.) plants. Seedlings were planted in 4.7-L plastic containers and fertilized with a complete modified Hoagland's solution or this solution minus the element that was to be investigated. Plants were harvested for tissue analysis as well as dry weight when initial foliar symptoms were expressed and later under advanced deficiency symptoms. Root architecture was also recorded for the plants treated with the solutions. The containers were replicated three times for each of the two harvests and were randomized in a complete-block design. Deficiency symptoms for all treatments were observed within five weeks. The most dramatic expression of foliar symptoms occurred with N (a purplish tinge on underside of lower foliage leading to necrotic margins on the mature leaves), P (elongated internodes and a purplish tinge on underside of mature leaves), K (compact internodes with chlorotic lower foliage leading to necrotic patches on the leaf margins and blade), Fe (bright yellow upper foliage leading to a bleach white appearance), Ca (complete meristem necrosis with lower foliage becoming chlorotic then necrotic), and B (deformed young leaves and fully expanded leaves becoming thick, leathery, and brittle). The dry weight of plants treated with solutions not containing N, P, Ca, Fe, or B was significantly lower when compared to the control. Foliar tissue concentration data will assist plant tissue analysis laboratories in establishing foliar symptom standards for grower samples.
Catherine A. Neal
Crabapple (Malus ‘Donald Wyman’) and common lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Monge’) were grown from liners to marketable size in five production systems: field-grown, plastic container, pot-in-pot (PiP), bag-in-pot (BiP), and above-ground system (AGS). The objectives were to compare growth in modified container systems, which could potentially eliminate overwintering requirements in northern production nurseries and to compare the effects on tree root growth during landscape establishment. There were no significant differences in crabapple root or shoot mass after two seasons except PiP dry root weights exceeded field-grown trees. For lilacs, there were significant differences in growth and shoot dry weight with field-grown and PiP plants being largest. PiP root-zone temperatures (RZTs) were similar to field-grown RZTs. Container, BiP, and AGS systems all exceeded lethal high and low RZT thresholds, resulting in root damage. Five trees from each treatment were transplanted into a low-maintenance landscape and dug up 3 years later. There were no significant differences in top growth, but the effects of the production systems were evident in the root architecture. BiP and field-grown trees had fewest root defects and the greatest number of roots extending into the landscape soil.
Jonathan Lynch and Kathleen Brown
We have developed solid-phase P buffers capable of maintaining P concentrations in soiless media much lower than conventional fertilizers, in the range of available P levels found in natural soil. In addition to substantially reducing PGH reaching into the environment, these buffers can have a number of useful effects on crop growth. Using various floriculture and ornamental species, plants grown in media buffered at low P levels have stimulated root branching and growth, increased drought resistance, better transplant establishment, better shoot form, better vegetative growth, increased flowering, and continued development of buds in the postharvest environment. Phosphorus availability regulates many aspects of root architecture including adventitious rooting, lateral branch density, root gravitropism, and root hair formation. It appears that many of the effects of P on root growth may be mediated by ethylene. We hypothesize that the high P concentrations used in many horticultural systems are detrimental to optimal plant growth, and that buffered media represent an opportunity to improve production systems while also reducing environmental pollution from nutrient effluents.
Chris A. Martin, Jean C. Stutz, and Robert W. Roberson
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.
Low P availability is a primary limitation to plant growth on most native soils. Crop genotypes differ substantially in their ability to grow in low P soils. Understanding the physiological basis for such variation would be useful in developing genotypes with superior P efficiency, which would have utility in low-input systems and might permit more. efficient fertilizer use in high-input systems. In common bean (Phasecolus vulgaris), growth under P stress is reduced because of increased C costs of the root system. Genetic contrasts in P efficiency were not associated with reduced shoot requirement, mycorrhizal associations, chemical interactions with specific soil P pools, or root system size, but were associated with root system architecture. SimRoot, an explicit geometric model of bean root growth, confirmed that architectural traits can influence the relationship of root C costs and P acquisition. Root growth responds dynamically to P stress, through changes in the proliferation of lateral roots and the geotropic response of basal roots. Differences in root architecture arising from these growth responses to P stress may account for genetic differences in P efficiency.
Mark W. Jarecki, David J. Williams, and Gary J. Kling
Growers, nurseries, landscape contractors and installers, and those responsible for maintenance have observed a trend that trees are too deep within the root ball. This study addresses the relationship between planting depth and its effect on tree survival, root growth, root architecture, and caliper growth. The experiment was initiated to determine the effect of planting depth on nursery-grown trees. Three-year-old, 2.1–2.7 m, bare-root liners of Acer platanoides `Emerald Lustre', Fraxinus americana `Autumn Purple', Fraxinus pennsylvanica `Patmore', and Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis `Shade Master' were planted in April 2004 in a completely randomized design with 20 replications per treatment per species. The trees were selected so that the distance between the graft union and the trunk flare was consistent. Trees were planted with the graft union 15.2 cm below the soil surface, or with the base of the graft union at the finished grade or with the trunk flare at the finished grade. The trees were grown in a nursery field setting with minimal supplemental watering. There were no differences in stem caliper growth at the end of two seasons in any of the four species. Root dry mass, stem elongation, and rooting structure were determined on a representative sample of trees while others were planted into the landscape for a long-term study of the effects of the original planting depth on landscape performance.