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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 47, Issue 4 — July 2021

Root Tip Growth and the Presence of Leaves Affect Epicormic and Lignotuberous Shoot Development and Survival of Stressed Eucalyptus obliqua LíHerit. Seedlings

G.M. Moore

Abstract: The shoots produced from axillary, epicormic, and lignotuberous buds are significant parts of stress recovery responses in many tree species. The production of either epicormic or lignotuberous shoots does not guarantee survival of a tree, as the mortality of shoots is high. This research investigated the relationship between root tip growth and shoot production and survival after stress and its implications for urban tree managers. Seedlings of Eucalyptus obliqua LíHerit. were stressed by decapitation or different levels of heat stress at temperatures ranging from 40 įC to 100 įC for 2 to 128 minutes, as well as combinations of the two stresses. While the temperatures are not as high as those experienced in a forest fire, the stresses imposed can inform plant responses to stress such as fire. Lower temperatures and shorter durations were often sublethal, and decapitation, to the same extent as heat killing of plant tissues, elicited similar levels of epicormic and lignotuberous shoot growth. The root systems of the seedlings were inspected to determine whether the root tips were healthy, and selected root tips were monitored to determine if and when they had resumed growth. Survival rates of epicormic and lignotuberous shoots were enhanced by the presence of healthy leaves. The recommencement of growth after stress by the development of epicormic or lignotuberous shoots was preceded by root tip growth, which emphasises the importance of a healthy root system. Managing for the best soil conditions possible during and immediately after stress may be a key to successful shoot production and tree recovery.

Keywords: Decapitation; Epicormic Shoot; Heat Stress; Lignotuber; Root Tip Growth.

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