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Growth and Physiology of Loblolly Pine Roots Under Various Water Table Level and Phosphorus Treatments

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Weight, morphology, phosphorus and starch content, and anaerobic and nitrogen metabolism of roots of loblolly pines grown from seed for 2 years in drained (D), seasonally flooded (SF) and continuously flooded (CF) soils, with and without phosphorus fertilizer (P1 and P0, respectively) were compared. Root development was best in SF and poorest in CF, and was improved by P1 in all water table treatments. Rates of anaerobic metabolism were greatest in root tips from seedlings grown in CF, and root tips of CF-P1 had higher rates of ethanol and malate production than those of CF-P0. Relative contents of glutamic acid, -aminobutyric acid, asparagine, and alanine in xylem sap increased with flooding. Based on these findings and other existing knowledge, we suggest that loblolly pine roots are capable of accelerated glycolysis under anaerobic or waterlogged soil conditions and that some carbon breakdown processes are shunted from ethanol production to synthesis of nontoxic products. Enhancement of the energy status of pine roots by phosphorus may be a factor in the fertilizer responses commonly obtained on wet or poorly drained soils of the southeastern United States coastal plains. Forest Sci. 30:705-714.

Keywords: Pinus taeda; anaerobiosis; flooding; metabolism; nutrition

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Biological Technician, Clemson University

Publication date: September 1, 1984

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