Relation between root system size and water inflow capacity of abies amabilis growing in a subalpine forest

Teskey, R.O.; Grier, C.C.; Hinckley, T.M.

Canadian Journal of Forest Research 15(4): 669-672


ISSN/ISBN: 0045-5067
DOI: 10.1139/x85-109
Accession: 006294034

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The water inflow capacity of the root systems of several 15- to 18-year-old Pacific silver fir trees was investigated under field conditions. Severance of as much as one-third of the roots had no effect on xylem pressure potential, leaf conductance, or transpiration throughout the day following this treatment. Severance of more than half of the root system caused a decline in xylem pressure potential and partial stomatal closure. Measurements from trees which had been completely severed from their roots indicated that stored water made only a small contribution to the supply of water to the foliage of these trees. It was concluded that a balance did not exist between the capacity for water inflow and the rate of foliar water loss, at least in periods without drought. One advantage of excess absorptive capacity may be the ability to obtain adequate amounts of water from relatively small portions of the rooting zone.