Original Paper


, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1163-1172

First online:

Contribution of root growth responses to leaf traits and relative growth rate of Populus alba under different water-table conditions

  • Shogo ImadaAffiliated withArid Land Research Center, Tottori University Email author 
  • , Norikazu YamanakaAffiliated withArid Land Research Center, Tottori University
  • , Shigenobu TamaiAffiliated withArid Land Research Center, Tottori University

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Water-table depth variations alter root growth response and may affect whole-plant growth in arid and semi-arid regions. We examined how root biomass allocation and root morphological traits affect the leaf physiological and morphological traits and whole-plant growth of Populus alba growing under different water tables. We exposed 1-year-old P. alba cuttings to contrasting soil–water conditions via water table changes in a greenhouse for 90 days. We examined relationships among net assimilation rate (NAR) and other growth components obtained from our published data for trees harvested every 30 days. Strongly negative correlations were found between RMR and root morphological traits. Root mass ratio had a strong negative relationship with LMR, and proportion of fine-root biomass per total root biomass was positively correlated with SLA and NAR. Both NAR and leaf area ratio were important determinants of variation in relative growth rate (RGR). Leaf mass ratio (LMR) and specific leaf area (SLA) were positively correlated with RGR; the correlation was stronger in the case of LMR. Along a water-table gradient, negative relationships between root growth responses are likely to indirectly influence RGR through changes in NAR, LMR, and SLA.


Biomass allocation Fine-root growth Leaf growth trait Water-table depth Whole-plant growth