Current issue: 54(2)
Change in dry matter partitioning, 14C-incorporation, and sink 14C-activity of 1.5-year-old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings grown in growth chamber conditions were studied during a 91-day experiment. On five sampling dates, seedlings were labelled with 14CO2 and whole-plant allocation patterns were determined. Intensively growing shoots modified the dry matter partitioning: during shoot growth the proportion of roots decreased but after that it increased. Based on their large proportion of dry matter, the needles (excluding current needles) were the strongest sink of carbon containing 40% of the incorporated 14C. Despite their small initial sink size, the elongating shoots (current main shoot + current branch) and their needles were the second strongest sink (30–40% of the total 14C) which reflects their high physiological activity. The proportion of 14C in the current year’s main shoot increased during shoot growth but decreased as the growth began to decline after 70 days. 10–20% of the total assimilated 14C was translocated to the roots. Laterals above 2nd order were the strongest sink in the root system, containing twice as much 14C as the other roots together. Alternation between shoot and root growth can be seen clearly: carbon allocation to roots was relatively high before and after the period of intensive shoot growth. Changes in root sink strength resulted primarily from changes in root sink activity rather than sink size.
The structure and functional responses of roots in planted seedlings when acclimatizing at the planting site are reviewed. A wide range of methods for classifying roots has been employed, and the terminology used is not uniform. Roots can be classified by their morphology, origin, and function. The temporal and spatial variation of soil temperature, moisture, structure, and concentration of nutrients are among the most important properties to which root systems acclimatize. In order to reliably describe the function of the root system, several parameters usually have to be measured. Studies on the root-soil interface have indicated that roots are not necessarily in continuous contact with soil. The control mechanism of root growth is inadequately known and theoretically formulated. Generally, only the mass needed for water and nutrient uptake has been allocated to the roots. However, the amount of photosynthates allocated to the roots is high. Acclimatization of seedlings out at the planting site is a complicated process which is influenced by the growing conditions at both the nursery and at the site. The function, distribution and structure of roots are controlled by the environment in a way similar to the shoot, but the control mechanism is imperfectly known.
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