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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Root spatial distribution and biomass partitioning in Quercus robur L. seedlings: the effects of mounding site preparation in oak plantations

Bolte, Andreas; Löf, Magnus


In a reforestation field experiment undertaken in southern Sweden and planted with pedunculate oak, three site preparation treatments (herbicide application (H), mounding site preparation (MSP) and combined herbicide and mounding treatment (H + MSP)) were compared to an undisturbed control (C). We analysed root spatial and biomass distribution in 48 harvested seedlings. Compared to the control, both MSP and H treatments resulted in a significantly higher root system biomass (means C: 16.4 g, H: 45.7 g, MSP: 41.4 g, MSP + H: 102.2 g). The proportion of lateral root biomass increased from 38% (C) to 62% (MSP + H), while the two remaining treatments (H, MSP) attained percentages of 48% and 51%, respectively. The treatments did not alter seedlings' allometry and root:shoot ratio significantly. However, biomass distribution of different root system parts varied among treatments, so that lateral root biomass increased relative to leaf biomass from C to MSP + H variant. Site preparation treatments (MSP, MSP + H) increased the horizontal extension of root biomass, compared to C and H variants. We conclude that mounding site preparation is an efficient method for the reforestation of pedunculate oak stands. Due to the comparative positive effects on root system development, MSP presents an alternative to herbicide treatment, particularly at sites where the use of chemicals is restricted.


Pedunculate oak; Herbicide; Site preparation; Root collar diameter; Lateral root length; Root system biomass; Allometry; Root:shoot ratio

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2010, Volume: 129, number: 4, pages: 603-612
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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