Number of living root tips per branch, percent dead roots, percent mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal morphotype, response of woody roots to wounding and colonization by fungi, and concentrations of starch, soluble sugars, phenols, percent C and N and C/N ratio, and Al Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, and P were measured for 2 consecutive years in roots of red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) in stands in the northeastern United States (nine in 1993 and two additional in 1994) dominated by red spruce and with a gradient of forest floor exchangeable Al/Ca ratios. Root vitality was measured for nonwoody and coarse woody roots; chemical variables were measured for nonwoody (<1 mm), fine woody (1 to <2 mm), and coarse woody (2 to <5 mm) roots. There were significant differences among sites for all variables, particularly in 1993, although few were related to the Al/Ca ratio gradient. Percent mycorrhizae decreased, while some morphotypes increased or decreased as the Al/Ca ratio increased. In nonwoody roots, N increased as the Al/Ca ratio increased. Most sampled trees appeared to be in good or fair health, suggesting that an adverse response of these root variables to high Al concentrations may be apparent only after a significant change in crown health.
Additional publication details
Vitality and chemistry of roots of red spruce in forest floors of stands with a gradient of soil Al/Ca ratios in the northeastern United States