Jones, R.H. 1986. Initiation, Spatial Distribution and Demography of Root Sprouts in American Beech (Fagus grandifolia EHRH.). M.S. Thesis, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, 142pp.


Abstract: Spatial and age class distributions of root sprouts were characterized for 31 isolated beech clones in 13 closed-canopied stands. The clones, located in the Allegheny Uplands of Central New York, included parent trees declining due to beech bark disease and trees without signs of decline. A selection of sprouts within each clone was tagged to estimate age-specific survivorship. A sample of newly-formed sprouts was sectioned and studied microscopically to determine the histological sequence of sprout formation.

Sprouts formed on superficial woody roots within 10 m of parent trees and were distributed in a circle with no relationship to slope or aspect. Sprout age class distribution was of negative expoential form. Static life table analysis indicated constant per capita mortality of 11.3%. Cohort life table analysis indicted reduced per capita mortality over time. Most sprouts remained attached to the parent root system for 10+ years. The pattern of sprout initiation and survivorship was similar among clones with diseased and non-diseased parent trees. The histological sequence of sprouting was callus tissue formation followed by adventitious bud development and then bud expansion.

In another experiment, 648 woody beech root segments were subjected to various injuries, left in the field, and then revisited in the next two growing seasons to record mortality, new callus, new buds, new sprouts, and new roots. The segments were arranged in a 22 X 32 split-plot factorial experiment with two locations (Adirondack Mountains and Allegheny Plateau). Three season of treatment (summer, late fall, and spring), three treatment levels (scrape, cut, and control), and two exposure levels (exposed and reburied). Analysis of variance revealed significant treatment, season, exposure, and first-order interaction effects. Scraped and cut roots developed more callus, buds, and sprouts than did controls. Cut roots had more sprouts in the first year after treatment, but by the second year scraped roots had more sprouts and cut roots had high mortality. Results suggest the presence of microclimatic influence over sprouting, and weak apical control of sprout initiation. Spring injury resulted in the greatest number of sprouts.