Modeling Adventitious Root System Development in Trees: Clonal Poplars

  • Donald I. Dickmann
  • Ronald L. Hendrick
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 62)


Mechanistic growth modelers have recently become interested in exploring the mysteries of tree root systems. At the outset of these modeling efforts, some understanding of the morphology, ecology and physiology of roots, and how they correlate with the aerial parts of the tree is essential. The growing tree is an integrated system, with water, minerals, nitrogenous compounds, carbohydrates, growth regulators and other organic substances moving freely, though often phasically, between the roots and the shoots. A perturbation or stress in one part of the tree is sensed and reacted to in all others. In addition, roots grow in a complex, heterogeneous soil environment. If we are to improve upon existing mechanistic and predictive models of tree growth, or to build more responsive new models, the physiology and ecology of this integrated shoot-root-soil system must be better understood.


Root System Fine Root Fine Root Biomass Coarse Root Hybrid Poplar 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aber, J.D., Melillo, J.M., Nadelhoffer, K.J., McClaugherty, C.A., and Pastor, J., 1985, Fine root turnover in forest ecosystems in relation to quantity and form of nitrogen availability: a comparison of two methods, Oecologia 66:66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agren, G.I., and Ingestad, T., 1987, Root:shoot ratio as a balance between nitrogen productivity and photosynthesis, Plant Envir. 10:10.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, I.J., and Fairley, R.I., 1983, Effects of N fertilization on populations of fine roots and mycorrhizae in spruce humus, Plant Soil 71:71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen, M.F. 1991, “The Ecology of Mycorrhizae,” Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  5. Atkinson, D., 1980, The distribution and effectiveness of roots of tree crops, Hortic. Rev. 2:2.Google Scholar
  6. Atkinson, D., 1983, The growth, activity and distribution of the fruit tree root system, Plant Soil 71:71.Google Scholar
  7. Atkinson, D., 1985, Spatial and temporal aspects of root distribution as indicated by the use of a root observation laboratory, in: “Ecological Interactions in Soil,” A.H. Fitter, D. Atkinson, D.J. Read, and M. Usher, ed., Spec. Pub. No. 4, Blackwell Sci. Pubs., Oxford.Google Scholar
  8. Atkinson, D., Naylor, D., and Coldrick, G.A., 1976, The effect of tree spacing on the apple root system, Hortic. Res. 16:16.Google Scholar
  9. Bartsch, N, 1987, Response of root systems of young Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies plants to water deficits and soil acidity, Can. J. For. Res. 17:17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bassow, S.L., Ford, E.D., and Kiester, A.R., 1990, A critique of carbon-based tree growth models, in: “Process Modeling of Forest Growth Responses to Environmental Stress,” R.K. Dixon, R.S. Meldahl, G.A. Ruark, and W.G. Warren, eds., Timber Press, Portland.Google Scholar
  11. Bloomberg, W.J., 1959, Root formation of black cottonwood cuttings in relation to region of the parent shoot, For. Chron. 35:35.Google Scholar
  12. Bloomberg, W.J., 1963, The significance of initial adventitious roots in poplar cuttings and the effect of certain factors on their development, For. Chron. 39:39.Google Scholar
  13. Bonicel, A., Haddad, G., and Gagnaire, J., 1987, Seasonal variations of starch and major soluble sugars in the different organs of young poplars, Plant Physiol. Biochem. 25:25.Google Scholar
  14. Cannell, M.G.R., 1985, Dry matter partitioning in tree crops, in: “Attributes of Trees as Crop Plants,” M.G.R. Cannell, and J.E. Jackson, eds., Instit. Terrestrial Ecol., Huntingdon.Google Scholar
  15. Cannell, M.G.R., and Willett, S.C., 1976, Shoot growth phenology, dry matter distribution and root:shoot ratios of provenances of Populus trichocarpa, Picea sitchensis and Pinus contorta growing in Scotland, Silvae Genet. 25:25.Google Scholar
  16. Ceulemans, R., 1990, “Genetic Variation in Functional and Structural Productivity Determinants in Poplar, University of Antwerp,” Dissertation, Thesis Pubs., Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  17. Chapin, F.S., 1980, The mineral nutrition of higher plants, Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 11:11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chen, C.W., and Gomez, L.E., 1990, Modeling tree responses to interacting stresses, in: “Process Modeling of Forest Growth Responses to Environmental Stress,” R.K. Dixon, R.S. Meldahl, G.A. Ruark, and W.G. Warren, eds., Timber Press, Portland.Google Scholar
  19. Chung, H.H., and Kramer, P.J., 1975, Absorption of water and 32P through suberized and unsuberized roots of loblolly pine, Can. J. For. Res. 5:5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. DeByle, N.V., 1964, Detection of functional intraclonal aspen root connections by tracers and excavation, For. Sci. 10:10.Google Scholar
  21. Dickmann, D.I., and Pregitzer, K.S., 1992, The structure and dynamics of woody plant root systems, in “Ecophysiology of Short Rotation Forest Crops,” C.P. Mitchell, J.B. Ford-Robertson, T. Hinckley, and L. Sennerby-Forsse, ed., Elsevier Applied Sci., New York.Google Scholar
  22. Dickmann, D.I., and Stuart, K.W., 1983, “The Culture of Poplars,” Michigan State Univ., East Lansing.Google Scholar
  23. Dickson, R.E., 1979, Xylem translocation of amino acids from roots to shoots in cottonwood plants, Can.J. For. Res. 9:9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eissenstat, D.M., 1991, On the relationship between specific root length and the rate of root proliferation: A field study using citrus rootstocks, New Phytol. 118:118.Google Scholar
  25. Elowson, S., and Rytter, L., 1984, Biomass distribution within willow plants growing on a peat bog, Swed. Univ. Agric. Sci. Rep. 15:15.Google Scholar
  26. Ericsson, T., 1984, Root biomass distribution in willow stands grown on a bog, Swed. Univ. Agric. Sci. Rep. 15:335–348.Google Scholar
  27. Ewel, K.C., and Gholz, H.K., 1991, A simulation model of the role of belowground dynamics in a Florida pine plantation, For. Sci. 37:37.Google Scholar
  28. Faulkner, H.G., 1976, Root Distribution, Amount, and Development from 5-Year-Old Populus x euramericana (Dode) Guinier., M.S.F. Thesis, Univ. Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  29. Fitter, A.H., Stickland, T.R., Harvey, M.L., and Wilson, G.W., 1991, Architectural analysis of plant root systems, 1. Architectural correlates of exploitation efficiency, New Phytol. 118:118.Google Scholar
  30. Friend, A.L., Scarascia-Mugnozza, G., Isebrands, J.G., and Heilman, P.E., 1991, Quantification of two-year-old hybrid poplar root systems: morphology, biomass, and 14C distribution, Tree Physiol. 8:8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Goldfarb, D., Hendrick, R., and Pregitzer, K.S., 1990, Seasonal nitrogen and carbon concentrations in white, brown and woody fine roots of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh), Plant Soil 126:126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gordon, J.C., and Promnitz, L.C., 1976, A physiological approach to cottonwood yield improvement, in: “Symp. on East. Cottonwood and Related Species Proc.,” B.A. Thielges, and S.B. Land, Jr., eds., Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge.Google Scholar
  33. Graham, S.A., Harrison, R.P., and Westell, C.E., 1963, “Aspens: Phoenix trees of the Great Lakes Region,” Univ. Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  34. Grier, C.C., Vogt, K.A., Keyes, M.R., and Edmonds, R.L., 1981, Biomass distribution and above-and belowground production in young and mature Abies amabilis zone ecosystems of the western Cascades, Can. J. For. Res. 11:11.Google Scholar
  35. Haissig, B.E., Davis, T.D., and Riemenschneider, D.E., 1992, Researching controls of adventitious rooting, Physiol. Plant. 84:84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hamblin, A., and Tennant, D., 1987, Root length density and water uptake in cereals and legumes: how well are they correlated? Aust. J. Agric. Res. 38:513–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hansen, E.A., 1981, Root length in young hybrid Populus plantations: its implication for border width of research plots, For. Sci. 27:27.Google Scholar
  38. Harley, J. L., and Smith, S.E., 1983, “Mycorrhizal Symbiosis,” Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  39. Hendrick, R.L., and Pregitzer, K.S., 1992, The demography of fine roots in northern hardwood forests, Ecology 73:73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hendrick, R.L., and Pregitzer, K.S., 1993, Patterns of fine root mortality in two sugar maple forests, Nature 361:59–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Host, G.E., Rauscher, H.M., Isebrands, J.G., Dickmann, D.I., Dickson, R.E., Crow, T.R., and Michael, D.A., 1990, “The ECOPHYS User’s Manual,” USDA For. Ser. Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-141, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul.Google Scholar
  42. Horwath, W., 1993, “The Dynamics of Carbon, Nitrogen and Soil Organic Matter on Populus Plantations,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing.Google Scholar
  43. Isebrands, J.G., and Nelson, N.D., 1983, Distribution of 14C-labeled photosynthates within intensively cultured Populus clones during the establishment year, Physiol. Plant. 59:59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Isebrands, J.G., Rauscher, H.M., Crow, T.R., and Dickmann, D.I., 1990, Whole-tree growth process models based on structural-functional relationships, in: “Process Modeling of Forest Growth Responses to Environmental Stress,” R.K. Dixon, R.S. Meldahl, G.A. Ruark, and W.G. Warren, eds., Timber Press, Portland.Google Scholar
  45. Keller, J.D., and Loescher, W.H., 1989, Nonstructural carbohydrate partitioning in perennial parts of sweet cherry, J. Amer. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 114: 969.Google Scholar
  46. Keyes, M.R., and Grier, C.C., 1981, Above-and below-ground net production in 40-year-old Douglas-fir stands on low and high productivity sites, Can. J. For. Res. 11:11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. King, D.A., 1993, A model analysis of the influence of root and foliage allocation on forest production and competition between trees, Tree Physiol. 12:12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kuhns, M.R., Garrett, H.E., Teskey, R.O., and Hinckley, T.M., 1985, Root growth of black walnut trees related to soil temperature, soil water potential and leaf water potential, For. Sci. 31:31.Google Scholar
  49. Landsberg, J.J., 1986, “Physiological Ecology of Forest Production,” Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  50. Ledig, F.T., 1983, The influence of genotype and environment on dry matter distribution in plants, in: “Plant Research and Agroforestry,” P.A. Huxley, ed., Int. Coun. for Res. in Agroforestry, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  51. Lockwood, D.W., and Sparks, D., 1978a, Translocation of 14C in’ Stuart’ pecan in the spring following assimilation of 14CO2 during the previous growing season, J. Amer. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 103:103.Google Scholar
  52. Lockwood, D.E., and Sparks, D., 1978b, Translocation of 14C from tops and roots of pecans in the spring following assimilation of 14CO2 during the previous growing season, J. Amer. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 103:45.Google Scholar
  53. Loescher, W.H., McCamant, T., and Keller, J.D., 1990, Carbohydrate reserves, translocation, and storage of woody plant roots, Hortic. Sci. 25:25.Google Scholar
  54. Lyr, H., and Hoffman, G., 1967, Growth rates and growth periodicity of tree roots, Int. Rev. For. Res. 2:2.Google Scholar
  55. Luxova, M., and Lux, A., 1981a, Latent root primordia in poplar stems, Biol. Plant. (Praha) 23:285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Luxova, M., and Lux, A., 1981b, The course of root differentiation from root primordia in poplar stems, Biol. Plant. (Praha) 23:401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. MacFall, J.S., Johnson, G.A., and Kramer, P.J., 1991, Comparative water uptake by roots of different ages in seedlings of loblolly pine, New Phytol. 119:119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Makela, A., and Hari, P., 1986, Stand growth model based on carbon uptake and allocation in individual trees, Ecol. Model. 33:33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Marshall, J.D., and Waring, R.H., 1985, Predicting fine root production and turnover by monitoring root starch and soil temperature, Can. J. For. Res. 15:15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nadelhoffer, K.J., Aber, J.D., and Melillo, J.M., 1985, Fine roots, net primary production and nitrogen availability: a new hypothesis, Ecology 66:66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Nguyen, P.V., Dickmann, D.I., Pregitzer, K.S., and Hendrick, R., 1990, Late-season changes in allocation of starch and sugar to shoots, coarse roots, and fine roots in two hybrid poplar clones, Tree Physiol. 7:7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nikinmaa, E., and Hari, P., 1990, A simplified carbon partitioning model for Scots pine to address the effects of altered needle longevity and nutrient uptake on stand development, in: “Process Modeling of Forest Growth Responses to Environmental Stress,” R.K. Dixon, R.S. Meldahl, G.A. Ruark, and W.G. Warren, eds., Timber Press, Portland.Google Scholar
  63. Pang, P.C., and Paul, E.A., 1980, Effects of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae on 14C and 15N distribution within nodulated fababeans, Can. J. Soil Sci. 60:60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Passioura, J.B., 1980, The transport of water from root to shoot in wheat seedlings, J. Exp. Bot. 31:31.Google Scholar
  65. Pereira, J.S., and Pallardy, S., 1989, Water stress limitations to tree productivity, in: “Biomass Production by Fast-Growing Trees,” J.S. Pereira, and JJ. Landsberg, eds., Kluwer Acad. Pubs., Boston.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pregitzer, K.S., Dickmann, D.I., Hendrick, R., and Nguyen, P.V., 1990, Whole-tree carbon and nitrogen partitioning in young hybrid poplars, Tree Physiol. 7:7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Priestly, C.A., Catlin, P.B., and Olsson, E.A., 1976, The distribution of 14C-labelled assimilates in young apple trees as influenced by doses of supplementary nitrogen, I. Total 14C radioactivity in extracts, Ann. Bot. 40:40.Google Scholar
  68. Rastetter, E.B., Ryan, M.G., Shaver, G.R., Mellilo, J.M., Nadelhoffer, K.J., Hobbie, J.E. and Aber, J.D., 1991, A general biogeochemical model describing the responses of the C and N cycles in terrestrial ecosystems to changes in CO2, climate and N deposition, Tree Physiol. 9:9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Robinson, D., Linehan, D.J., and Caul, S., 1991, What limits nitrate uptake from soil? Plant Cell Envir. 14:77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Rogers, W.S., 1939, Root studies, VII. Apple root growth in relation to rootstock, soil, seasonal and climatic factors, J. Pomol. 17:17.Google Scholar
  71. Running, S.W., and Gower, S.T., 1991, FOREST-BGC, A general model of forest ecosystem processes for regional applications, II. Dynamic carbon allocation and nitrogen budgets, Tree Physiol. 9:9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sauter, J.J., VanCleve, B., and Wellenkamp, S., 1989, Ultrastructural and biochemical results on the localization and distribution of storage proteins in a poplar tree and in twigs of other tree species, Holzforsch. 43:43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schier, G.A., and Johnston, R.S., 1971, Clonal variation in total nonstructural carbohydrates of trembling aspen roots in three Utah areas, Can. J. For. Res. 1:1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Schier, G.A., and Zasada, J.C., 1973, Role of carbohydrate reserves in the development of root suckers in Populus tremuloides, Can. J. For. Res. 3:3.Google Scholar
  75. Sibley, R.M., and Grime, J.P., 1986, Strategies of resource capture by plants — evidence for adversity selection, J. Theor. Biol. 118:118.Google Scholar
  76. Sprackling, J.A., and Read, R.A., 1979, “Tree Root Systems in Eastern Nebraska,” Nebraska Conserv. Bull. No. 37, Lincoln.Google Scholar
  77. Sutton, R.F., and Tinus, R.W., 1983, “Root and Root System Terminology,” For. Sci. Monograph 24.Google Scholar
  78. Tew, R.K., Debyle, N.V., and Schultz, J.D., 1969, Intraclonal root connections among quaking aspen trees, Ecology 50:50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Titus, J.S., and Kang, S.M., 1982, Nitrogen metabolism, translocation, and recycling in apple trees, Hortic. Rev. 4:4.Google Scholar
  80. Vogt, K.A., Grier, C.C., and Vogt, D.J., 1986, Production, turnover and nutritional dynamics of above-and below-ground detritus of world forests, Adv. Ecol. Res. 15:15.Google Scholar
  81. Wargo, P.M., 1979, Starch storage and radical growth in woody roots of sugar maple, Can. J. For. Res. 9:9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Weinstein, D.A., and Beloin, R., 1990, Evaluating effects of pollutants on integrated tree processes: a model of carbon, water and nutrient balances, in: “Process Modeling of Forest Growth Responses to Environmental Stress,” R.K. Dixon, R.S. Meldahl, G.A. Ruark, and W.G. Warren, eds., Timber Press, Portland.Google Scholar
  83. Weinstein, D.A., Beloin, R., and Yanai, R.D., 1991, Modeling changes in red spruce carbon balance and allocation in response to interacting ozone and nutrient stresses, Tree Physiol. 9:9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Ying, C.C., and Bagley, W.T., 1977, Variation in rooting capability of Populus deltoides, Silvae Genet. 26:26.Google Scholar
  85. Zavitkovski, J., and Stevens, R.D., 1972, Primary productivity of red alder ecosystems, Ecology 53:53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald I. Dickmann
    • 1
  • Ronald L. Hendrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ForestryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations