A comparison of root distribution patterns among Prunus rootstocks

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Journal of the American Pomological Society





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Root distribution was compared among Prunus rootstocks budded to ‘Montmorency’ tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) and ‘Redhaven’ peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch) and grown at the Kaysville, Utah location of the multi-site NC-140 Regional Rootstock Research Project. Sampling was carried out on replicate trees with the rootstocks selected based on industry importance and to represent a wide range of tree sizes. Ten-year-old cherry trees on Mahaleb, Gisela® 5, Gisela® 6 and Weiroot 158 rootstocks, and 5-year-old peach trees on Bailey, Cadaman®, Controller 5, Krymsk® 1 and Lovell rootstocks were examined. Root distribution was determined using a soil core sampling technique. Tree roots were separated from the soil cores, assigned to one of three size classes, dried and weighed. Data were analyzed by standard analysis of variance to determine main effects and interactions of rootstock, sampling depth and location. Total root biomass distribution differed significantly among peach but not cherry rootstocks. However, differences in root mass were noted at the different sampling locations around the tree and depths in the soil profile. Most roots were located within the tree row and distribution of roots perpendicular to the tree row were primarily located within the herbicide strip. The degree of lateral root distribution of the five peach rootstocks was not proportional to trunk diameter or tree biomass. These results indicate that a relatively simple soil core sampling technique is sufficient to detect root distribution differences among rootstock cultivars.

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