Title : Root Health Management
Visit Count : 529 Time(s)
Upload Date : 1/16/2020 - 252 Day(s) ago
Category : agricultural technical notes
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Visit Count : 529 Time(s)
Upload Date : 1/16/2020 - 252 Day(s) ago
Category : agricultural technical notes
Developing and maintaining a healthy root system is important for establishment and long-term productivity of trees. Roots take up nutrients and water from the soil to transport them to the tree canopy (the leaves and fruit). The root system also acts as an anchor for the tree, which is important during high wind conditions, such as thunderstorms and tropical systems. At the same time, the leaves provide carbohydrates to grow and maintain a functional root system. In a healthy tree, the carbohydrate supply is balanced between new leaves, fruit, and roots. When root health is compromised, the root system has reduced nutrient and water uptake capacity, which can subsequently affect growth of new leaves and fruit.
Root health can be compromised by pests, pathogens, and environmental (abiotic) factors. Citrus root pests include Diaprepes root weevil, burrowing nematode, sting nematode, and others. Historically, the most damaging root pathogens in citrus have been Phytophthora spp. that cause root, crown, and foot rot. The most common detrimental environmental factors for roots in Florida citrus are soil pH, salinity, and flooding. An increase in soil pH above 7.0 results in precipitation of phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and other plant nutrients, reducing the concentration of nutrients in solution available for uptake by the roots. Extended waterlogging (oxygen deprivation) and salinity can cause root decline and death. Site-specific decisions made while preparing to plant will reduce the risk and impact of these biotic and abiotic causes of root health decline. Management of root health problems depends on cultural and, when necessary, chemical management tools.
The root system has two main types of roots, structural and fibrous (feeder), that serve different essential functions for the tree. The structural roots provide the anchoring scaffold of the root system and act as the major transport corridors for nutrients, water, and carbohydrates. The fibrous roots form the interface with the soil where water and nutrients are absorbed. Both kinds of roots are important for root and tree health and are affected differently by pests, pathogens, environmental factors, and any interactions of the three. Structural roots often extend outward to the edge of the wetted zone or canopy and then continue down and outward beyond the canopy. Fibrous roots only grow in high-density clusters from structural roots where water and nutrients are most abundant. In irrigated trees, the fibrous roots are concentrated in the wetted zone of the irrigation system. For example, microsprinkler irrigation concentrates 80% of the fibrous roots in the top 10 inches of the wetted zone under the canopy. Root systems are important to understand because root health management should be focused on these areas of high fibrous-root density.
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