Canopy and environmental control of root dynamics in a long-term study of Concord grape

New Phytol. 2005 Sep;167(3):829-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01456.x.


Below-ground carbon allocation represents a substantial fraction of net photosynthesis in plants, yet timing of below-ground allocation and endogenous and exogenous factors controlling it are poorly understood. Minirhizotron techniques were used to examine root populations of Vitis labruscana Bailey cv. Concord under two levels of dormant-season canopy removal and irrigation. Root production, pigmentation, death and disappearance to a depth of 110 cm were determined over two wet and two dry years (1997-2000). There was continual root production and senescence, with peak root production rates occurring by midseason. Later in the season, when reproductive demands for carbon were highest and physical conditions limiting, few roots were produced, especially in dry years in nonirrigated vines. Root production under minimal canopy pruning was generally greater and occurred several weeks earlier than root production under heavy pruning, corresponding to earlier canopy development. Initial root production occurred in shallow soils, likely due to temperatures at shallow depths being warmer early in the season. Our study showed intricate relationships between internal carbon demands and environmental conditions regulating root allocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods
  • Environment*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Rain
  • Seasons
  • Time Factors
  • Vitis / physiology*