This study investigates the relationship between fine-root morphology and net mesh size in fine-root production (FRP) measurements (ingrowth core and net method). The data collected show that when a fine root has an apical diameter equal or bigger than the mesh size, the degree of difficulty in passing through the net determines a response that arrests growth or deviation from the initial direction of growth. Both reactions prevent the root from crossing the net and induce the fine root to produce new laterals with thinner diameters. The investment in biomass necessary to form the new laterals is smaller than that needed to support the parental fine root and this leads to determines an underestimation of FRP. In particular, a considerable reduction of fine-root biomass in the area outside the netting was detected with a mesh size below 1.5 mm. The choice of net mesh size to be used for FRP measurement cannot be arbitrary, but should be evaluated through a preliminary analysis of fine-root morphology of experimental species prior to net installation. (C) 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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