Root proliferation of Norway spruce and Scots pine plants in response to local magnesium supply

  • Junling Zhang
  • Eckhard George


Nutrient sources in soils are often inhomogeneously distributed. In the present study root proliferation in response to Mg patches in soil was investigated by using a split-root system. The experiment demonstrated that the distribution of newly grown roots and the Mg concentrations of these roots can be strongly affected by soil nutrient supply, plant species and plant Mg nutritional status. In both Norway spruce and Scots pine plants, total root dry weight of newly grown roots was independent of the whole plant Mg nutritional status. Magnesium additions did not affect any parameters related to root morphology, irrespective of plant species and plant Mg nutritional status. Root Mg concentrations were increased in Mg-rich soil patches, but this accumulations of Mg varied with plant species. In Norway spruce plants, a marked patch Mg accumulation was only measured in Mg sufficient plants. In Mg deficient plants, a relatively homogenous distribution of root Mg concentrations was observed across all newly grown roots, although the highest Mg concentrations occurred in a patch with NPKMg supply. In Scots pine plants, Mg accumulations occurred irrespective of plant Mg nutritional status. These results suggest that tree root response to soil Mg patches is in contrast to root response to soil N, P and K patches.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Caldwell, M. M.; Dudley, L. M.; Lilieholm, B. C., 1992: Soil solution phosphate, root uptake kinetics and nutrient acquisition implications for a patchy soil environment. Oecologia 89, 305–309.Google Scholar
  2. Friend, A. L.; Eide, M. R.; Hinckley, T. M., 199o: Nitrogen stress alters root proliferation in Douglas-fir seedlings. Canadian Journal of Forest Reserach 20, 1523–1529.Google Scholar
  3. George, E.; Sear, B.; Schaeffer, C.; Marschner, H., 1997: Response of Picea, Pinus and Pseudotsuga roots to heterogeneous nutrient distribution in soil. Tree Physiology 17, 39–45.Google Scholar
  4. Hodge, A.; Robinson, D.; Griffiths, B. S.; Fitter, A. H., 1999: Nitrogen capture by plants grown in N-rich organic patches of contrasting size and strength. Journal of Experimental Botany 5o, 1243–1252.Google Scholar
  5. Hodge, A.; Robinson, D.; Frrrer, A. H., 2000: An arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculum enhances root proliferation in, but not nitrogen capture from, nutrient-rich patches in soil. New Phytologist 145, 575–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hinzl., R. F., 1991: Die Nährelementversogung geschädigter Wälder in Europa and Nord-amerika. Freiburger Bodenkundliche Abhandlungen, Heft 28, ISSN 0344–2691.Google Scholar
  7. Jackson, R. B.; Caldwell, M. M.; 1991: Kinetic response of Pseudoroegneria roots to localized soil enrichment. Plant and Soil 138, 231–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schwartz, C.; Morel, J. L.; Saumier, S.; Whiting, S. N., Baker, A. J. M., 1999: Root development of the zinc-hyperaccumulator plant Thlaspi caerulescens as affected by metal origin., content and localisation in soil. Plant and Soil 208, 103–115.Google Scholar
  9. Whiting, S. N.; leake, J. R.; Mcgrath, S. P.; Baker, A. J. M., 2000: Positive response to Zn and Cd by roots of the Zn and Cd hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens. New Phytologist 145, 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© B. G. Teubner GmbH, Stuttgart/Leipzig/Wiesbaden 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junling Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Eckhard George
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Nutrition (330)Hohenheim UniverstityStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ)GroßbeerenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Plant Production SciencesHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations