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Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120280

Variation of Fine Roots Distribution in Apple (Malus pumila M.)–Crop Intercropping Systems on the Loess Plateau of China

1
College of Water and Soil Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Ji County Station, Chinese National Ecosystem Research Network (CNERN), Beijing 100083, China
3
Beijing Collaborative Innovation Center for Eco-Environmental Improvement with Forestry and Fruit Trees, Beijing 102206, China
4
Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration on Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
5
Beijing Engineering Research Center of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
6
Engineering Research Center of Forestry Ecological Engineering, Ministry of Education, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
7
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 October 2018 / Revised: 18 November 2018 / Accepted: 25 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2031 KB, uploaded 27 November 2018]   |  

Abstract

In arid and semi-arid areas, interspecific below-ground competition is prominent in agroforestry systems. To provide theoretical and technical guidance for the scientific management of apple–crop intercropping systems, a field study was conducted in the Loess Plateau of China to examine the variation of fine roots distribution in apple–crop intercropping systems. The fine roots of apple trees and crops (soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) or peanuts (Arachis hypogaea Linn.)) were sampled to 100 cm depth at ten distances from the tree row using the stratified excavation method. The results showed that the vertical distribution of fine roots between intercropped apple trees and intercropped crops were skewed and overlapped. Apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of apple trees in the 0–60 cm soil depth, but promoted their growth in the 60–100 cm soil depth. However, apple–crop intercropping inhibited the fine roots of intercropped crops in the 0–100 cm soil depth. For the fine roots of each component of the apple–crop intercropping systems, variation in the vertical distribution was much greater than variation in the horizontal distribution. Compared with monocropped systems, apple–crop intercropping caused the fine roots of intercropped apple trees to move to deeper soil, and those of intercropped crops to move to shallower soil. Additionally, apple–crop intercropping slightly inhibited the horizontal extension of the fine-root horizontal barycentre (FRHB) of intercropped apple trees and caused the FRHB of intercropped crops to be slightly biased towards the north of the apple tree row. Variation of the fine roots distribution of each component of the apple–soybean intercropping system was greater than that of the apple–peanut intercropping system. Thus, the interspecific below-ground competition of the apple–peanut intercropping system was weaker than that of the apple–soybean intercropping system. Intense competition occurred in the apple–peanut intercropping system and the apple–soybean intercropping system was in sections whose distance ranged from 0.5–1.3 and 0.5–1.7 m from the tree row, respectively. The interspecific below-ground competition was fiercer on the south side of the apple tree row than on the north side. View Full-Text
Keywords: fine-root biomass density; variation in the vertical distribution; fine-root horizontal barycenter; niche overlap; interspecific below-ground competition fine-root biomass density; variation in the vertical distribution; fine-root horizontal barycenter; niche overlap; interspecific below-ground competition
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Sun, Y.; Bi, H.; Xu, H.; Duan, H.; Peng, R.; Wang, J. Variation of Fine Roots Distribution in Apple (Malus pumila M.)–Crop Intercropping Systems on the Loess Plateau of China. Agronomy 2018, 8, 280.

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