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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1995

Development of root biomass in an Eucalyptus globulus plantation under different water and nutrient regimes

Fabião, António; Madeira, Manuel; Steen, Eilel V.; Kätterer, Thomas; Ribeiro, Carlos; Araújo, C.


The distribution along the soil profile of Eucalyptus globulus root biomass was followed in a plantation in central Portugal at 1, 2 and 6 years after planting, using an excavation technique. The experimental design consisted of a control (C) and 3 treatments: application of solid fertilizers twice a year (F), irrigation without the application of fertilizers (I) and irrigation combined with liquid fertilizers (IL). Below- and above-ground biomass decreased as follows: IL>I>F>C. So, water stress limited growth more severely than nutrient stress. The roots rapidly colonized the top soil volume (0-20 cm depth) during the first year after planting. Fine root biomass 6 years after planting was 2.2, 1.8 and 1.6 times higher in IL treatment than it was respectively in control, and in F and I treatments. The distribution of fine roots along the soil profile 6 years after planting was more even in IL compared to the other treatments. However, line roots in the top soil were more concentrated along the tree rows in the irrigated treatments than in the others. The proportion of below-ground biomass relative to the total tree biomass and the root/shoot ratio were higher in C than in the treatments at early growth stages. This pattern was not so clear 6 years after planting, due to the increased proportion of the tap root relative to total biomass, especially in the IL treatment.



Published in

Plant and Soil
1995, Volume: 168-169, number: 1, pages: 215-223
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)

    SLU Authors

    • Steen, Eilel V.

      • Department of Ecology and Environmental Research, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Soil Science

      Publication Identifiers


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