iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Use of alternative containers for promoting deep rooting of native forest species used for dryland restoration: the case of Acacia caven

Luz M De La Fuente (1), Juan F Ovalle (1), Eduardo C Arellano (1-2), Rosanna Ginocchio (1-2)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 5, Pages 776-782 (2017)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2101-010
Published: Sep 02, 2017 - Copyright © 2017 SISEF

Research Articles

The size of a container determines the development and quality of root systems. In the case of taprooted forest species used for dryland reforestation, deeper containers may favour early root development and, consequently, better soil profile colonization after outplanting. Although research on container design for worldwide tree species has been developed in the last decades, technical solutions for containerized forest species with a taproot system have been poorly documented. We present a case study using Acacia caven (Mol.) Mol., which has fast-growing taproots and long lateral and superficial roots. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of different containers on rooting volume in the early morphological development of A. caven seedlings. Ten day-old seedlings were cultivated in five different PVC container types varying in volume, width and length (T440-Short, T440-Long, T880-Short, T880-Long, and T440-C), in a completely randomized design for one growing season. At the end of the study, whole seedling samples were destroyed to assess taproot length, lateral root biomass, and total root/shoot dry biomass. To evaluate the potential plant capacity for developing new roots, a subsequent experiment using the root growth potential test was performed successfully. Results showed that change in root volume distribution (short vs. elongated containers) had the greatest influence on seedling quality, whereas the size of container (small volume vs. large) was of minor importance. Elongated containers (35 cm to 40 cm in length) with self-pruning basal roots produced seedlings with smaller shoot/root ratios, longer root systems, and a greater ability to restart new root growth in deeper container strata. Elongated containers also prevented taproot deformation. The present study suggests that it would be appropriate to rethink container design for seedlings of deep-rooted xerophytic species destined for water-limited transplanting conditions.


Native Tree Domestication, Root Growth Potential, Root Morphology, Seedling Quality

Authors’ address

Luz M De La Fuente
Juan F Ovalle
Eduardo C Arellano
Rosanna Ginocchio
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Center of Applied Ecology & Sustainability (CAPES), PO Box 8331150, Santiago (Chile)
Eduardo C Arellano
Rosanna Ginocchio
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Departamento de Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, PO Box 7820436, Santiago (Chile)

Corresponding author

Rosanna Ginocchio


De La Fuente LM, Ovalle JF, Arellano EC, Ginocchio R (2017). Use of alternative containers for promoting deep rooting of native forest species used for dryland restoration: the case of Acacia caven. iForest 10: 776-782. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2101-010

Academic Editor

Gianfranco Minotta

Paper history

Received: May 02, 2016
Accepted: Jun 15, 2017

First online: Sep 02, 2017
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2017
Publication Time: 2.63 months

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