Cavity size and copper root pruning affect production and establishment of container-grown longleaf pine seedlings


With six container types, we tested the effects of cavity size (i.e., 60, 93, and 170 ml) and copper root pruning on the root system development of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seedlings grown in a greenhouse. We then evaluated root egress during a root growth potential test and assessed seedling morphology and root system development 1 year after planting in central Louisiana, USA. Seedling size was increased by copper root pruning in small cavities but was unaffected by this treatment in larger cavities. Before planting, copper root pruning increased taproot and secondary lateral root dry weights at the expense of primary lateral root dry weight and increased root growth potential in the top 5 cm of the root plug. Across treatments, survival was 97%, and all seedlings were in the grass stage. Of the lateral root dry weight that elongated during the first year after planting, 33% more occurred in the upper 5 cm of soil when seedlings were treated with copper. Within each cavity size, copper root pruning did not affect the general morphology of 1-year-old seedlings. However, relationships between root collar diameter and root egress by depth indicated that this treatment has the potential to increase the range of cavity sizes used for seedling production.

  • Citation: Sword Sayer, Mary Anne; Haywood, James D.; Sung, Shi-Jean Susana. 2009. Cavity size and copper root pruning affect production and establishment of container-grown longleaf pine seedlings. Forest Science. 55(5): 377-389.
  • Keywords: copperblock, copper oxychloride, Pinus palustris Mill., Superblock, taproot
  • Posted Date: December 7, 2009
  • Modified Date: April 20, 2021
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.