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Keywords:

  • Aspen;
  • Clone;
  • Cross-dating;
  • Root age structure;
  • Root connection;
  • Root excavation;
  • Root graft;
  • Tree root
  • Moss (1983)

Abstract. The coarse-root dynamics of ramets of Populus tremuloides (aspen) were investigated with respect to persistence of the original root connections (roots of parent trees from which the ramets originated), the time of establishment of new roots at the base of the stem and the fate of the communal root system after death of individual trees. Parts of the root systems of three declining stands of aspen ramets were hydraulically excavated. From each stand, sections of all structural roots were collected at the base of live and dead trees and were analysed using dendrochronology techniques. Parent roots were identified in the root system of every tree. The trees initiated new structural roots shortly after suckering. Live roots were often connected to the stump of dead and decayed trees. Grafting was common, especially at or near the stumps. Death of trees along the parent roots over time did not seem to favour the entry of significant decay, nor promote breakage of the original root connections. Instead of becoming independent of the parent root system the ramets incorporated the parent roots into their own root systems, remaining interconnected.