PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Plant phenology influences resource utilization, carbon fluxes, and interspecific interactions. Although controls on aboveground phenology have been studied to some degree, controls on root phenology are exceptionally poorly understood. M ETHODS: We used minirhizotrons to examine the timing of grape root production over 5 yr in Fredonia, New York, USA, in a humid continental climate; and over 3 yr in Oakville, California, USA, in a Mediterranean climate. We used data from previous experiments to examine the relationship of root phenology with aboveground phenology. We compared interannual variability in root and shoot growth and determined the influence of abiotic factors on the timing of root initiation, peak root standing crop, peak root growth rate, and cessation of root growth. KEY RESULTS: Root phenology was not tightly coupled with aboveground phenological periods. Both sites typically had one yearly root flush and high interannual variability in root growth. Root phenology was more variable in California than in New York. In this and other published studies, interannual variation in root phenology was greater than variation in aboveground phenology. The three phenological phases of root growth—root initiation, peak root growth, and root cessation—were related to different suites of abiotic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Root phenology is highly variable among years. Analysis of potential controlling factors over several years suggest that belowground phenological phases should be analyzed separately from each other. If aboveground grape phenology responds differently than belowground phenology to changes in air temperature, global warming may further uncouple the timing of aboveground and belowground growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science