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Pinus Root, 400X c.s.
The roots of pine trees are similar to most other trees. The seedling starts with a primary root from which soon branch lateral roots. The function of the roots is (1) support the above-ground part of the tree and (2) extract water and nutrients from the soil. The absorption of nutrients is usually aided by an in intimate association of the root with a fungus called mycorrhiza (“root fungus”). The mycorrhizae extend out into the soil from the roots and more efficiently absorb water and nutrients for the roots in exchange for sugars produced by the pine. Most pine mycorrhizae are ectropic (external, forming a sheath over the root surface). Mycorrhizal associations are more important in poor soils than in rich soils. The cross-section of a root has epidermis on the surface, a woody cortex and a central conducting vessel. “Hairs” extend from the surface epidermis of younger roots or root branches. In mature pines the root may constitute only about 10% of the total mass of the tree, but in some species on dry sites, the root may be larger than the upper portion of the pine. In seedlings the root is proportionately larger, usually about 50% of the total mass.