Andersen, Christian P., R. Wilson, Milt Plocher, and William E. Hogsett. 1997. Carry-over effects of ozone on ponderosa pine root growth and carbohydrate concentrations. Tree Physiology 17:805-811
Ozone exposure decreases belowground carbon allocation and root growth of plants; however, the extent to which these effects persist and the cumulative impact of ozone stress on plant growth are poorly understood. To evaluate the potential for plant compensation, we followed the progression of ozone effects, with particular emphasis on the development of new roots. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex laws.)seedlings were exposed to ozone for 2 years. Following removal of the seedlings from ozone, root growth was assessed to characterize the carry-over effects on new root production, and carbohydrate concentrations were measured to determine if allocation strategies differed among ozone treatments. Four months after removal from ozone, dormant seedlings had significantly lower starch concentrations in stems, coarse roots and fine roots than control seedlings. Following root flushing, starch concentrations in all seedlings decreased, with ozone-treated seedlings containing significantly less starch, sucrose, fructose, glucose and total monosaccharides than control seedlings. There was some evidence that stem starch was mobilized to compensate partially for the lower concentrations of root starch in ozone-treated seedlings; however, there was significantly less new root production in seedlings previously exposed to ozone for 2 years than in control seedlings. Early senescence of older needle age classes, perhaps resulting in inadequate available photosynthate, may be responsible for the reduction in new root production during the year following exposure to ozone. Stored carbohydrate reserves, which were depleted in seedlings previously exposed to ozone, were insufficient to compensate for the ozone-induced reduction in canopy photosynthate. We conclude that there are carry-over effects of ozone exposure on ponderosa pine seedlings, including an enhanced potential for seedling susceptibility to other stresses even in respite years when ozone concentrations are low.