Root Morphology, Stem Growth and Field Performance of Seedlings of Two Mediterranean Evergreen Oak Species Raised in Different Container Types
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Outplanting container-grown oak seedlings with undesirable shoot and root characteristics result in poor establishment and reduced field growth. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of container type on both above-and below-ground nursery growth and field performance of one-year old tap-rooted seedlings Quercus ilex L. and Quercus coccifera L. The experiment was conducted in an open-air nursery and the seedlings were grown in three container types. At the end of the nursery, growth period seedlings’ shoot height, diameter (5 mm above root collar), shoot and root biomass, root surface area, root volume and total root length were assessed. Then the seedlings were planted in the field and their survival and growth were recorded for two growing seasons after outplanting. The results showed a difference between the Quercus species in the effect of container type. Q. ilex seedlings raised in paper-pot had significantly greater height, diameter, shoot and root biomass and root volume than those raised in the other two container types. Similarly, Q. coccifera seedlings raised in paper-pot, had significantly greater above-and below-ground growth than those raised in the other two container types. Both oak species showed relatively low survival in the field; the mortality was mainly observed the first year after outplanting, especially after the summer dry period. However, 2 years after outplanting, the paper-pot seedlings of the two oak species showed better field performance.
Keywordscontainer seedlings outplanting performance Quercus coccifera Quercus ilex root morphology stem growth
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