Mineralization is the dominant process controlling soil-solution P in the Spodosols of the southeastern United States. Pine trees growing in these soils are typically colonized by ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi that are known to produce phosphatases. Little, however, is known of the dynamics of EM short roots or phosphatase activity in tree plantations. To address this question, short root densities, EM morphotypes, and associated surface acid phosphomonoesterase in a 12-year-old Pinus elliottii plantation in northern Florida were evaluated. The density of total (living and dead) short roots changed little from February through June, with a mean of 7.6 cm3 soil. The majority of the short roots, however, were inactive or dead with only 14 to 38% appearing viable upon visual inspection. The majority of the viable short roots were mycorrhizal. The most abundant morphotypes were formed by Cenococcum and Thelephora but these had low phosphatase activity. In contrast, less frequently observed morphotypes had substantially higher rates of enzyme production and these may play an important role in sustainable P nutrition of plantation trees.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law