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Watson, Gary W.
Hewitt, Angela M.

Changes in Tree Root Architecture Resulting from Field Nursery Production Practices

Digitization Status
Born digital
Nursery production practices subject tree root systems to mechanical and environmental factors that are not imposed on plants regenerated naturally from seed. Architecture of undisturbed root systems of nine trees species commonly planted in urban landscapes was compared to root architecture of these tree species produced using common field nursery production practices. When young nursery production seedlings are root-pruned prior to replanting, the loss of the lower portion of the main root and lateral roots emerging from it, and initiation of adventitious roots from the cut end, alter the root system architecture. Nursery production plants have 7 to 48 percent fewer natural lateral roots that could develop into flare roots than undisturbed plants. New roots initiated from the cut end of the main root on nursery production plants can substitute for the loss of lateral roots, if accepted practices are followed. Root architecture of trees is established early. With minor exceptions attributed to the loss of small roots less than 1 mm diameter, there were no significant changes in the number of lateral roots over the 4 year period in both nursery production and undisturbed plants. This consistent number of roots also suggests that pruning the main root did not stimulate additional lateral roots above the pruning cut. Root architecture of liner stock produced in nurseries can be equivalent to undisturbed root systems.
Volume, Issue, Page Number
38, 1, 22-28
Related Entities
Journal of Environmental Horticulture (published by)