Current issue: 56(4)
About 40% forest in Finland are mixed stands that have birch (Betula pubescens and B. verrucosa) as one of the species. The aim of this research was to study the structure of root system of birch and compare it to the other main tree species in Finland.
The root systems were dug out and measured in 28 sample plots in Southern and Central Finland, representing different forest site types. Birch roots correspond 30‒100% of the volume of the stem, the largest root systems being in the sandy soils or peatlands. Also the longest lateral roots can be found at these sites. The size variation of root system of birch is larger than in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), and the vertical root system is in general smaller in birch. Birch seems to be better than pine able to adapt its root system to the existing conditions. The smallest root systems were found in the good forest site types, but the roots grow in the good sites denser than in the poor sites. The lateral roots of the main tree species in Finland, birch, Scots pine and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) grow in different depths, which decreases the competition between the species. This finding gives support to cultivation of mixed stands.
The PDF includes a summary in English.