Forest Ecology and Management
In a growth chamber, we tested how the seasonal timing of placing a physical barrier (simulating a possible effect of log storage) and inflicting root damage impacted aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) root systems and their suckering capability. Roots from 4-year-old saplings were used, and one half of these root systems had the above-ground portion cut in the winter (dormant) while the other half was cut during the growing season in the summer. Damage was inflicted to the roots by driving a large farm tractor over them, and a covering treatment was applied using a polystyrene board to prevent suckers from emerging from the soil. Soil temperatures for the winter-cut root systems were kept at 5 8C over the growing season, using a water bath, while for the summer-cut root systems soil temperatures were maintained at 17 8C over the growing season. In the winter-cut root systems, both log storage and root wounding caused a 40% reduction in living root mass and carbohydrate reserves, as well as reducing sucker numbers and their growth performance. In the summer-cut root systems log storage and root wounding reduced living root mass by approximately 35% as well as sucker growth, but had less of an impact on the number of suckers produced.
Renkema, Kevin N.; Landhausser, Simon M.; and Lieffers, Victor J., "Suckering response of aspen to traffic-induced-root wounding and the barrier-effect of log storage" (2009). Aspen Bibliography. Paper 3481.