The purpose of the investigation was to study the amount, quality and distribution by layers of depth of horizontal roots in Norway spruce (*Picea abies* (L.) Karst.) and Scots pine (*Pinus sylvestris* L.) stands in Southern Finland. The sample plots included stands on soil varying from sandy to stony, and stands of varying ages from seedling stands to an old stand, in *Myrtillus* and *Vaccinium* type forests.

In a Norway spruce stand, the amount of roots increases rapidly and reaches its maximum, about 450 meters/m^{3}, at an age of 100-110 years. In a Scots pine stand the maximum, about 370 m/m^{3}, is reached earlier, at an age of 60-70 years. The root system of pine expands more rapidly than that of spruce. The total length of the horizontal root system of pine amounts to 1,000 m soon after 40 years of growth, of spruce at the age of 60. Later the situation changes, and at the age of 110 the root systems of both species are about the same size, but older trees of spruce have more extensive root system.

Majority of horizontal roots are under 1 mm in diameter. Of the horizontal roots of spruce stands the majority lie in the humus layer and in the topmost mineral soil stratum. Over half of horizontal spruce roots are, thus, at a maximum depth of 5 cm, while majority of the roots of Scots pine lie at maximum in depth of 10 cm. At the same layer grow also the roots of the ground vegetation, which may affect the competition between the species.

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