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The Frequency and Implications of Intraspecific Root-Grafting in Loblolly Pine

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Studies were carried out in 27- to 83-year-old natural and planted Pinus taeda L. stands, on the Duke Forest near Durham, North Carolina, to determine: (1) the prevalence of intraspecific root-grafting; (2) rates of mineral transfer between trees and living stumps; and (3) growth and decay of living stumps. Iodine-131 tracer techniques and field surveys were used to study the prevalence of root-grafting. Rates of mineral translocation were determined by radioactive phosphorus. Intraspecific root-grafting was common but less prevalent than for most species. Of 16 trees inoculated with I-131, 4 were root-grafted to single neighboring trees. Only 7.6 percent of 2054 stumps, or approximately 4 per acre, were grafted to living trees. Initial rates of P-32 translocation, from stump to donor tree varied from 0.10 to 5.06 feet per hour, with rates of 1 to 3 feet per hour most common. Water stress appeared to be necessary for P-32 translocation through many root-grafts. Xylem formed on living stumps was composed of very short (0.4 to 1.5 mm) disoriented tracheids which probably aided lateral movement of minerals and water around the root collars of living stumps. Data indicate that most grafted stump root systems die and decay and do not significantly aid the growth of donor trees.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, School of Forestry, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Publication date: September 1, 1967

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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