Canadian Forest Service Publications

Fine and coarse root parameters from mature black spruce displaying genetic X soil moisture interaction in growth. 2012. J.E. Major; K.H. Johnsen; D.C. Barsi; M. Campbell. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:1926-1938.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34228

Language: English

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DOI: 10.1139/x2012-144

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Fine and coarse root biomass, C, and N mass parameters were assessed by root size and soil depths from soil cores in plots of 32-year-old black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.) from four full-sib families studied previously for drought tolerance and differential productivity on a dry and wet site. All fine and coarse root size categories had greater root biomass on the dry than on the wet site. Most of the site differences resided in 0-20 cm soild depth. The wet site had greater root N concentration than the dry site, despite the same soil N; thus, virtually no differences were observed in total fine and coarse root N mass between sites. Root N concentration declined with increases in both soil depth and root size. Fine roots (<2 mm) accounted for 73% and 38% of the total fine and coarse N mass, respectively. The dry site had lower needle mass and more fine root mass than the wet site, demonstrating an adaptation to moisture stress change through the rebalancing of resource-obtaining organs. Drought-tolerant families had the same quantity of fine roots as drought-intolerant families but were able to support more foliage and aboveground mass per unit fine root mass than intolerant families.