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Soil Moisture Stress Induces Transplant Shock in Stored and Unstored 2 + 0 Douglas-Fir Seedlings of Varying Root Volumes

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Transplant shock was induced by applying a range of soil water contents to unstored and cold-stored 2-yr-old (2 + 0) bareroot Douglas-fir seedlings graded by root volume. Moisture stress had the greatest influence on morphological characteristics that express transplant shock. Seedling terminal growth, stem diameter growth, and needle length increased dramatically with increased soil moisture content. In addition, number of needles per centimeter on the terminal greatly increased with increasing moisture stress. Under high moisture stress, seedlings with relatively high root volumes tended to exhibit early reduced growth, but later showed significantly increased overall growth regardless of soil water content. In every case, seedlings grown in the driest soil had the lowest dry weights and those grown in the most moist soil had the highest weights for all seedling components. Similarly, seedlings with the smallest initial root volumes had the lowest dry weights, and those with the largest root volumes had the highest weights. The results indicate that moisture stress is a cause of transplant shock, and that increased seedling root volume may enable seedlings to avoid shock following outplanting to a specific site. FOR. SCI. 39(2):275-294.
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Keywords: Drought; nursery grading; planting; seedling quality

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331

Publication date: 1993-05-01

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 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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