Anchorage and asymmetry in the root system of Pinus peuce
The relationship between the anchorage mechanics and root architecture of Pinus peuce was investigated by carrying out winching tests and examining excavated root systems of 20 mature trees. The root system was dominated by 6.1±1.3 lateral roots, more than 70% of the lateral root cross sectional area (CSA) being distributed in the uppermost 10 cm of soil. Anchorage strength was related to the size of the tree and CSA. The overturning moment of trees was proportional to the diameter at breast height (DBH) to the power of 1.6. The trees exhibited significant asymmetry in anchorage rigidity, but although there was clustering of lateral roots in a preferred direction the root asymmetry was not significantly correlated with the asymmetry in anchorage rigidity, suggesting that much of the anchorage is provided by tap and sinker roots, rather than the laterals. However, the major laterals showed dorsoventral eccentricity, the more eccentric ones being those that were distributed closer to the soil surface and which pointed perpendicular to the direction of greatest resistance. This suggests that this is a result of thigmomorphogenetic effects. These results are compared with those for the related P. sylvestris and suggest that the assimilation and anchorage characteristics of root systems are controlled independently of each other.
Received 9 July 2002 Accepted 14 January 2003 Published 31 December 2003