Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2012, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (10): 1024-1032.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2012.01024

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Response of root morphology and biomass of Tamarix ramosissima seedlings to different water irrigations

MA Xiao-Dong1,*(), ZHU Cheng-Gang2, LI Wei-Hong2   

  1. 1School of Life Sciences, Xinjiang Normal University, ürümqi 830054, China;
    2State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, ürümqi 830011, China;
  • Received:2011-12-23 Accepted:2012-07-03 Online:2012-12-23 Published:2012-09-26
  • Contact: MA Xiao-Dong


Aims Deficient water resources in the lower reaches of Tarim River of China impose constraints on the growth and survival of planted seedlings of Tamarix ramosissima. Our objective was to study root morphology and growth of T. ramosissima seedlings to provide suggestions for rehabilitating degraded desert riparian forest.
Methods We investigated root growth, biomass production of the seedlings under two irrigation treatments, i.e., layered-side irrigation and above-ground irrigation, and three watering levels, i.e., high water level (W1, 50 L∙ tree -1), medium water level (W2, 25 L∙tree -1) and low water level (W3, 12.5 L∙tree -1).
Important findings Layered side-irrigation significantly increased fine root length (0.5 mm < d < 2 mm), fine root surface area, coarse root biomass (d > 2 mm), below- and above-ground biomass and root depth compared with above-ground irrigation. Root length and biomass with layered side-irrigation and W1 increased significantly (p < 0.05). Total fine root (d < 2 mm) specific root length (SRL) with layered side-irrigation increased significantly with the increase in watering level, and above-ground irrigation caused insignificant differences in the SRL between W1, W2 and W3. The root/shoot ratio (R/S) in the layered side-irrigation treatment was less than that in the above-ground irrigation treatment. Our results suggest that the layered side-irrigation caused more rapid and greater root elongation, as well as root biomass production in T. ramosissima seedlings. This may benefit seedling survival in the early growing stage.

Key words: biomass, layered side-irrigation, root morphology, Tamarix ramosissima, watering level