Current issue: 56(2)
Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) invading sites is common in Finland. The species tends to establish itself as undergrowth, and takes over when it gets space to grow. To determine whether the undergrowth is suitable as the new generation requires knowledge on the biology of spruce undergrowth. One of the issues is determining the age of the stunted trees. In this investigation, 100 undergrown spruce trees, their crown and their root systems were studied. A method was developed to determine the age of the trees.
The root system of all trees in Vaccinium sites and of stunted trees in Myrtillius sites were superficial. The root systems of older spruces were purely of adventitious origin. The longer the period of stunting growth, the younger is the root system. In addition to acropetal and general adventitious ramification there is often adventitious branching of the roots of pathological causes. Mortality among the long roots is frequent.
A stunted tree has not the same ability as a viable tree to make use of already existing branches for building assimilating surface. When comparing trees with equally large assimilating surface, a stunted tree had greater sum of roots compared to a viable tree. The root system of a stunted undergrown spruce was very superficial compared with the other trees.
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