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Comparing Taproot Conditions for Nursery Production

Michael Culbertson



There is some indication that damaging the taproot may impact tree growth and health for years into the future. There is also indication that multiple taproots can resprout after damage. This project hopes to evaluate the impact of cultivation methods on taproot development.


Some tree species are anecdotally known to develop significant taproots and be dependent upon them compared to other species. Nurseries frequently grow and sell these plants in pots. Or they seed them into a bed and dig them up to sell them, potentially severing/injuring/impacting the taproot. Finally, they can grow them in "air pruned" beds that burn the tip of the taproot.



  1. Determine list of taproot species.

  2. Setup seedling, pot, bed, and air prune bed areas.

  3. Grow under the same conditions.

  4. Evaluate germination, population numbers, aerial/root growth rate, health/disease, and soil conditions over time. This may involve digging up (destroying) individuals.

  5. Produce outreach material and distribute to regional nurseries.

Further information on design, implementation, and discussion available upon request.

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