E.F. Gilman, R.C. Beeson Jr. and R.J. Black.


Comparing root balls on laurel oak transplanted from the wild with those of nursery and container grown trees
J. Arboriculture. 18(3): 124-129
Laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia) was transplanted from 3.8-liter containers into a field nursery or into fabric containers and grown for 2 years. Root balls were then compared. Also compared were oaks collected with a tree spade from the wild. The root system on wild trees was dominated by a single tap root with a few lateral roots growing from the tab root and from the base of the trunk. The nursery trees did not have a single prominent tap root, but several large roots that grew straight or at a slight angle down beneath the trunk. In most cases, these vertically oriented roots originated from roots that had circled the bottom of the container prior to planting. There was no difference in weight of roots less than 5 mm diameter between field- and fabric container-grown trees, and root number and cross-sectional area were comparable among wild, field grown and fabric container-grown trees with the exception that wild trees had fewer roots and less cross-sectional area than did nursery-grown trees in the >5-10 mm root diameter class. Root: shoot ratio was similar for trees in all treatments.