Root architecture and wind-firmness of mature Pinus pinaster

New Phytol. 2005 Nov;168(2):387-400. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01497.x.


This study aims to link three-dimensional coarse root architecture to tree stability in mature timber trees with an average of 1-m rooting depth. Undamaged and uprooted trees were sampled in a stand damaged by a storm. Root architecture was measured by three-dimensional (3-D) digitizing. The distribution of root volume by root type and in wind-oriented sectors was analysed. Mature Pinus pinaster root systems were organized in a rigid 'cage' composed of a taproot, the zone of rapid taper of horizontal surface roots and numerous sinkers and deep roots, imprisoning a large mass of soil and guyed by long horizontal surface roots. Key compartments for stability exhibited strong selective leeward or windward reinforcement. Uprooted trees showed a lower cage volume, a larger proportion of oblique and intermediate depth horizontal roots and less wind-oriented root reinforcement. Pinus pinaster stability on moderately deep soils is optimized through a typical rooting pattern and a considerable structural adaptation to the prevailing wind and soil profile.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Climate
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Pinus / anatomy & histology*
  • Pinus / growth & development
  • Pinus / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / anatomy & histology*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / physiology*
  • Plant Stems / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Stems / physiology
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Wind