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Internal Redistribution of N in Sitka Spruce Seedlings with Partly Droughted Root Systems

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Split pots were used to allow measurement of the potential N retranslocation from roots of Sitka spruce subject to drought. Withholding water from one part of the root system had no effect upon increases in total weight and N content of the whole trees, or of the shoot and roots separately. However, the distribution of root weight and N content between the split parts of the root system did change. The results indicate that the droughted roots of these spruce seedlings retranslocated 23% of the nitrogen initially present in them before experimental conditions were imposed. This retranslocation is considerably less than that reported elsewhere for senescing needles, but fine-root nitrogen retranslocation may be a potentially significant flux in forest systems where fine-root turnover is high. There was some evidence of N movement from needles to sustain compensatory growth of roots in response to nutrient and/or water stress. For. Sci. 37(3):860-870.

Keywords: N retranslocation; Sitka spruce; fine roots; split-pot systems

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Plant and Soil Science, Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland AB9 2UE

Publication date: August 1, 1991

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