Slits in container wall improve root structure and stem straightness of outplanted Scots pine seedlings
Root structure and basal sweep were measured on 6-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees at two sites with different soil fertility. Each site was planted with seedlings of identical origin after nursery cultivation in either solidwall container types with vertical ribs or in slitwall container types. Neither container design nor container volume affected tree height or stem diameter on the two sites. The transversal area of lateral roots was larger than the transversal area of bottom roots for the two container types at both sites. The proportion of bottom root transversal area to the total root transversal area was larger in the seedlings growing on the low fertility site than in those growing in the high fertility site for both container types. Seedlings cultivated in slitwall containers had a larger root area in proportion to stem diameter and had less root spiralling compared to the trees cultivated in solidwall containers. At the high fertility site, trees from the slitwall container type had straighter stem bases than seedlings grown in solidwall containers. At the low fertility site, differences in basal sweep formation were small between the container types. Reasons for this are discussed.
Received 21 January 2003 Accepted 1 April 2003 Published 31 December 2003