Soil incorporation of logging residue affects fine-root and mycorrhizal root-tip dynamics of young loblolly pine clones
Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations cover a large geographic area of the southeastern USA and supply a large proportion of the nation’s wood products. Research on management strategies designed to maximize wood production while also optimizing nutrient use efficiency and soil C sequestration is needed. We used minirhizotrons to quantify the effects of incorporating logging residues into soil on fineroot standing crop, production and mortality, and mycorrhizal root tips in young loblolly pine clones of contrasting ideotypes. Clone 93 is known to allocate more C to stem growth, while clone 32 allocates less C to stems and more to leaves. The relative allocation by these clones to support fine-root turnover is unknown. Clone 32 exhibited 37% more fine-root mortality than clone 93, which was mainly the result of a greater standing crop of fine roots. Fine-root standing crop in plots amended with logging residue was initially higher than control plots, but 2.5 years after planting, standing crop in control plots had exceeded that in mulched plots. Production of mycorrhizal root tips, on the other hand, was initially higher in control than mulched plots, but during the last 9 months of the study, mycorrhizal tip production was greater in mulched than control plots, especially for clone 93. As expected, turnover rate of fine roots was greater in surface soil (0–25 cm) compared with deeper (25–50 cm) soil and for small roots (<0.4 mm diameter) compared with larger fine roots (0.4–2.0 mm diameter). Rates of fine-root turnover were similar in both clones. Organic matter additions reduced survivorship of individual roots and increased turnover rates of fine-root populations. Results indicate that management decisions should be tailored to fit the growth and allocation patterns of available clones.