Root System

The root system of Norway spruce lacks a taproot, develops laterally, and is relatively shallow, averaging 40 cm in depth. Most roots are concentrated in the upper 10 cm soil depth in pure stands, but may extend to 35 cm depth in mixed species stands. Consequently, Norway spruce is sensitive to soil moisture conditions and generally occurs on cool, moist sites.

The total length of roots per m2 ground area was estimated at approximately 100 m at a stand age of 10 years, and 45 m in the age of 100-110 years (KALELA 1951; SIKA 1966). In those studies, 81% of the roots had diameters less than 1 mm and only 2.7% above 2 mm. The biomass of fine roots (less than 1 mm diam eter) was estimated at 7,000 to 8,000 kg/ha with a total length of 11 km/ha. The surface area to mass ratio of the roots was estimated at 28-29 m2/kg.

Tadeusz Przybylski, Polish Academy o/ Sciences, Institute o/Dendrology, Kornik.

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