Influence of repeated prescribed fire and herbicide application on the fine root biomass of young longleaf pine

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Photosynthate from mature foliage provides the energy source necessary for longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) root system expansion. Crown scorch caused by repeated prescribed fire could decrease this energy and, in turn, reduce new root production. We conducted a study to assess the root biomass of restored longleaf pine saplings in response to three prescribed fires applied in spring over a six-year period. We observed less pine fine root biomass at the 20- to 30-cm soil depth in response to repeated prescribed fire. Absence of a similar effect at the 0- to 20-cm soil depth suggests root system sink strength at different soil depths could influence the recovery of root growth processes after crown scorch. Observations from this study will be used to refine the experimental methodology of future assessments of longleaf pine root system responses to repeated prescribed fire.

  • Citation: Sword Sayer, Mary Anne; Kuehler, Eric A. 2010. Influence of repeated prescribed fire and herbicide application on the fine root biomass of young longleaf pine. In: Stanturf, John A., ed. 2010. Proceedings of the 14th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–121. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 267-273.

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