Surface soil root response to season of repeated fire in a young longleaf pine plantationThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The potential exists for interaction between naturally high soil bulk density and low soil water content to create root-growth limiting soil strengths. This problem is commonly remedied by soil structural attributes, old root channels and other perturbations, and periods of wetness during which soil strength is favorable for root elongation. Because the application and season of repeated fire affect understory plant structure in southern pine forests (Haywood 2009), they may also affect the quantity and distribution of understory roots. On sites where understory roots play a significant role in alleviating extreme soil strength by perturbing the soil and generating old root channels, awareness of how fire-induced changes in vegetation affect understory rooting and soil strength is warranted. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship between vegetation changes induced by fire and soil strength on a site where the potential exists for pine rooting to be limited by both soil bulk density and soil strength.