Development and morphology of juvenile western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sf268781r

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  • Whole tree excavation of 41 western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.), ranging in age from 2 to 34 years old, was used to assess the development and structure of root systems, to determine biomass allocation patterns, and to develop mathematical relationships for estimating biomass and root system dimensions in seedling and young western juniper. Both aboveground and belowground developmental patterns, including structural components and vertical and horizontal root spread, were described relative to plant age. Tree age and height were evaluated as predictors of biomass, root length, and root system dimensions of juvenile western juniper. Seedling root systems consisted of a relatively short tap root and a few weak laterals. With advancing age, root systems expanded in depth and lateral spread. Maximum observed rooting depth and horizontal extension were 1.20 m and 5.70 m, respectively. Root biomass and length allocation shifted from tap to lateral roots with increasing plant age. Lateral root growth dominated in trees older than 10 years. The majority of lateral roots emerged from the tap root between 5 and 20 cm from the soil surface. The relative proportions of accumulated weight in shoot components changed with progressing age. Foliage biomass accounted for the largest fraction of total standing weight throughout the developmental period examined. Adult foliage was first initiated at 17 years of age. Structural tissue increased and dead biomass decreased in relative proportion as the trees grew. Western juniper root/shoot biomass ratios ranged from 0.50 to 1.75 and showed little correlation with age. Fine root/foliage ratios varied between 0.85 and 4.38, and exhibited a significant decline with age. Tree age and height were consistently strong predictors for biomass of root and shoot components, root system length, and extension. Coefficients of determination from regressions on log-log transformed data ranged from 0.70 to 0.92 for tree age and from 0.84 to 0.96 for tree height.
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