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Root Stripping of Ectomycorrhizae Decreases Field Performance of Loblolly and Longleaf Pine Seedlings

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Survival and growth of loblolly and longleaf pine seedlings were significantly reduced after 2 years in the field by physical removal (stripping) of specific ectomycorrhizae before planting. The tests were done in South Carolina during the drought years of 1981 and 1982. Loblolly pine seedlings were all the same size at planting. Two sizes of longleaf pine seedlings were produced by varying nursery bed density. After 2 years, mean survival for loblolly pine was 71, 60, 56 and 39% for seedlings with Pisolithus tinctorius (Pt) ectomycorrhizae that had 0, 33, 66, and 100%, respectively, of the ectomycorrhizae stripped. Pt seedlings with 0 or 33% stripping of ectomycorrhizae were significantly larger than seedlings with more Pt ectomycorrhizae removed. Mean survival of loblolly pine with ectomycorrhizae from natural inoculation (NI) was 61, 52, 39, and 38% with 0, 33, 66, and 100%, respectively, of the ectomycorrhizae stripped. Growth of NI seedlings was significantly less than that of Pt seedlings; NI seedlings also produced fewer new lateral roots than Pt seedlings in the first growing season. Survival and early growth (stem caliper increment) of longleaf pine seedlings were affected more by stripping ectomycorrhizae than by different initial root-collar diameters caused by different bed densities (7.5 and 15 seedlings per ft²). Survival of seedlings from the low bed density averaged (Pt and NI) 59, 48, and 37%, and that of seedlings from the higher bed density averaged 63, 40, and 27% after stripping 0, 50, and 100% of the ectomycorrhizae, respectively. Seedlings from the higher bed density with Pt ectomycorrhizae survived better (48%) than those with NI ectomycorrhize (38%). Thus, the quality and quantity of the ectomycorrhizal condition of loblolly and longleaf pine seedlings from the nursery are highly significant in determining outplanting success, especially during years of low rainfall. South. J. Appl. For. 10:173-179. Aug. 1986

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Institute for Mycorrhizal Research and Development, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Athens, GA

Publication date: August 1, 1986

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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