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The Communal Root System of Red Pine: Water Conduction Through Root Grafts

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Flow rates through excised root grafts of Pinus resinosa Ait. were tested under laboratory conditions. Measurable flow capacities existed between grafted roots as well as along original root axes. Flow distribution from inflow points was not strictly fixed; rather, a certain amount of water was diverted from one pathway to another depending on the tensions imposed on exiting arms. The magnitude of such diversion was often greater than could be accounted for by cross-grain conduction observed in nongrafted roots. An explanatory model postulates a mechanism for variable sharing among pathways at the junction, presumably resulting from anatomy and arrangement of tracheids in fusion tissue. Such a mechanism could similarly allow for sharing of available moisture among several interconnected trees, although this has yet to be demonstrated in the field. Forest Sci. 21:255-261.

Keywords: Pinus resinosa; xylem

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Charles Lathrop Pack Professor of Forest Soils, Dep. Agronomy, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, New York 14853

Publication date: 1975-09-01

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

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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