Home Publications Tree Planters' Notes Tree Planters' Notes Volume 60, Number 2 (2017) Root Growth Potential of Loblolly Pine Seedlings After Defoliation To Mimic Browsing Damage

Root Growth Potential of Loblolly Pine Seedlings After Defoliation To Mimic Browsing Damage

Defoliation of recently planted pine seedlings by mammalian herbivores and insects can hinder seedling establishment. The extent of browsing damage is often reported using aboveground tissue assessments. The effect on root growth belowground from the removal of photosynthetic tissue, however, may also contribute to poor seedling establishment and growth. Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings were subjected to five defoliation treatments to mimic a range of browsing damage. Their root systems were then suspended in aerated aquariums for 28 days to determine root growth potential (RGP) and root-collar diameter (RCD) growth. Removing all foliage resulted in very low RGP and negative RCD growth. Removal of the bottom half, top half, and side foliage from seedlings resulted in some root production but significantly less than seedlings with no foliage removed. This study demonstrates the need for current photosynthate to support root development and also shows the potential growth and vigor reductions depending on browsing severity.


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Author(s): D. Paul Jackson, Denise N. Bowe

Publication: Tree Planters' Notes - Volumes 60, Number 2 (2017)

Volume: 60

Number: 2

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