Characterizing the Utility of the Root-to-Shoot Ratio in Douglas-Fir Seedling Production

Academic Article


  • Nursery-grown tree seedlings are a vital component of successful restoration and reforestation programs, useful when calls for increased planting for industrial forest management are made, and a tool for climate change mitigation. One of the most extensively planted and studied trees in Western North America is Douglas-fir. Building on that body of work, this review was conducted to identify if the root-to-shoot ratio (root:shoot, R:S), a commonly referred-to metric in reforestation planning, yields meaningful guidance for producing seedlings that are better able to establish across a variety of field conditions. The results indicated that there is wide variability in R:S of nursery-grown seedlings. The relationship between R:S and subsequent root growth and seedling survival varies depending on Douglas-fir variety, seedling stocktypes, and site conditions. The biological and physiological basis for using R:S remains, and likely could be used to enhance seedling quality; however, there is an ongoing need for planning and collaboration between researchers and practitioners to identify how to best deploy this evaluation tool.
  • Authors

  • Sheridan, Rebecca A
  • Davis, Anthony S.
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2021
  • Published In

  • Forests  Journal
  • Keywords

  • biomass allocation
  • field establishment
  • plant hydraulics
  • seedling quality
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1745
  • End Page

  • 1745
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 12