I built 32 sq ft of air prune boxes one year ago now I'm happy to have hundreds of seedlings with strong roots that will be easy to transplant because they don't have long taproots. So far I am a big fan of this nursery system.
I'm wondering if there's a downside though. For trees that naturally have long taproots
a) will those taproots develop once the tree is planted, or has the air prune permanently prevented that?
b) if the taproot has been permanently prevented, then will this affect the long term health of the tree?
Thanks for sending me in that direction Jordan. Lots of good discussion in that thread. I'm going to paste below an older post from that thread that tells me everything I wanted to know.
"No trees here in interior Alaska have taproots; the ground is too cold and roots of any kind generally aren't found below about two feet (and they're never found much deeper than that). Most trees elsewhere don't retain their taproots in adulthood either; there has been extensive research where fully grown native trees were painstakingly excavated in situ and mapped. Typically, trees send out shallow lateral roots, with vertical striker roots descending from those. The taproot atrophies and eventually disappears, although there are some exceptions to that (e.g. walnuts), but often even the exceptions are missing their taproots, without apparent negative consequence. So the taproot doesn't seem very important, since it's generally an anomaly in mature trees. It might be that a tree planted in its ultimate location would benefit from remaining undisturbed, however (although on the other hand, transplanting stress could induce stimulation via hormsis, so who knows?). Plants are amazing and able to successfully adapt to a wide range of conditions."
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