iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Matching seedling size to planting conditions: interactive response with soil moisture

Juan A Oliet (1)   , Esther Ortiz de Urbina (1), Martina Sánchez-Pinillos (2), Guillermo Tardío-Cerrillo (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 220-225 (2019)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2801-012
Published: Apr 25, 2019 - Copyright © 2019 SISEF

Research Articles

Seedling size is a very important issue when producing plants for restoration projects. Scientific evidence on the appropriate size for drylands is contradictory. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of seedling size during first establishment by conducting a short term greenhouse experiment with Pinus canariensis containerized seedlings. A selection of large (mean height: 33.7 cm) and small (14.3 cm) one-year-old seedlings were planted in pots under two volumetric water content regimes: dry (7%) and wet (15%). Midday shoot water potential was measured in two periods: 10 (prior to root protrusion) and 30 (once the roots had protruded from the plug) days after planting. The length of protruding roots was measured after 30 days. One month after planting, the large seedlings under the dry regime produced more new roots than the small seedlings, but also showed the highest midday water potential values. Therefore, the greater root growth of the former did not offset the higher transpiration demand when planted in dry soils. These results suggest that under uncertainty about the soil humidity levels of dry areas, using small seedlings can improve their short-term survival after planting.


Planting Survival, Root Water Uptake, Seedling Size, Seedling Ecophysiology, Transpiration Demand, Water Potential, Seedling Morphology

Authors’ address

Juan A Oliet
Esther Ortiz de Urbina
Guillermo Tardío-Cerrillo
Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería de Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid (Spain)
Martina Sánchez-Pinillos
Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CEMFOR-CTFC), 25280 Solsona (Spain)

Corresponding author

Juan A Oliet


Oliet JA, Ortiz de Urbina E, Sánchez-Pinillos M, Tardío-Cerrillo G (2019). Matching seedling size to planting conditions: interactive response with soil moisture. iForest 12: 220-225. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2801-012

Academic Editor

Rossella Guerrieri

Paper history

Received: Mar 29, 2018
Accepted: Feb 22, 2019

First online: Apr 25, 2019
Publication Date: Apr 30, 2019
Publication Time: 2.07 months

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