Root Tip Injury and Development of the Paper Birch Root System

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Lateral root formation following injury to root tips is an important source of permanent woody branches in the root system of paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.). Death or decapitation of the root apex modifies the process of lateral root formation and subsequent growth. Following the removal of at least 2.0 mm of the root apex, large-diameter lateral replacement roots are formed immediately behind the injury surface. These replacement tips have a diameter of at least 60 percent of the parent root tip and become permanent woody branches. Removal of the apex also permits primordia formed before the injury and emerging normal lateral roots to grow out rapidly, increasing in diameter as they grow. The larger of these, varying from 25 to 59 percent of the parent root diameter at their origin, thus escape the apparent control of the root apex and become permanent portions of the root system. Abnormal development of primary xylem tissue proximal to the injury surface aids in identifying injury-caused branching. Forest Sci. 17:341-348.

Keywords: Betula papyrifera; root growth

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Graduate Assistant, Dep. of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Massachusetts

Publication date: September 1, 1971

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  • 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.
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