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Water and Mineral Nutrient Transfer Between Root Systems of Juvenile Populus

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Transfer of N, K, and ³H2O between intertwined Populus root systems was investigated using a 5-pot series of plants, linked together by split root systems. A nutrient deficiency or moisture deficit was created in all pots of each series after which the deficient nutrient (or ³H2O) was added to the first pot. Posttreatment analysis showed that although some transfer to other plants occurred it was minor compared to total plant requirements. Also, when only one-half of a plant's root system was watered or fertilized, there was less uptake in that plant compared to the plant with its entire root system watered or fertilized. These results indicate the importance of applying adequate and well-distributed nutrients and water to each individual plant and imply that interplant transfer, at least without root grafting, may not be a significant factor in determining buffer strip width in research plots of young Populus. Forest Sci. 25:247-252.
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Keywords: Nitrogen; buffer strip width; interplant transfer; potassium; root grafting; split roots; tritiated water

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Principal Plant Physiologist, North Central Forest Experiment Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 898, Rhinelander, WI 54501

Publication date: 01 June 1979

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