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Proceedings of Past Forest Nursery Association Meetings:

Chemical Root Pruning of Conifer Seedlings in Mexico
Aldrete, Arnulfo; Mexal, John G.
2000: Kona, HI
KEY WORDS
Polybags, seedling production, seedling quality

ABSTRACT
Many countries grow seedlings for reforestation in polybags where root spiraling and root egression can decrease seedling survival and growth following outplanting. The overall objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of chemical root pruning on root spiraling, root egression, and nursery performance of Pinus pseudostrobus, P. montezumae, and P. greggii seedlings and in addition, evaluate the effect of morphological characteristics of those seedlings on survival and field performance after outplanting. This research was carried out in 2 nurseries located at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and at Colegio de Postgraduados in Montecello-Texcoco, Mexico. Seedlings were grown either in SpinOutŪ-treated or untreated polybags. Additionally, cultural practices such as growing mixtures and drainage design were also evaluated. In general, seedlings grown in copper-treated polybags had greater height, root collar diameter, and biomass production. Copper treated polybags practically eliminated root spiraling at the bottom of polybags and consistently had less root egression from the bags. In many cases, seedlings exposed to copper had higher root:shoot ratios because of less root egression. Among the treatments evaluated, the combination of copper-treated polybags and copper-treated cloth was one of the best, possibly because this treatment eliminated root spiraling and root pruning is an important cultural practice that can be used under traditional production systems in Mexico to improve seedling quality and consequently improve field performance.
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