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    Description

    In the southern Sierra Nevada, California, relatively thin soils overlie granitic bedrock that is weathered to depths of several metres. The weathered granitic bedrock is porous and has a plant-available water capacity of 0.124 m3•m–3, compared with 0.196 m3•m–3 for the overlying soil. Roots confined within bedrock joint fractures access this rock-held water, especially during late summer when overlying soils are dry. We sought to determine seasonal soil and bedrock water changes in a Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi Grev & Balf.) plantation and to examine concurrent effects on the water relations of Jeffrey pine and greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula Greene). In 1996, plant-available water in the 75 cm thick soil was depleted by late June, with soil water potential <–2.2 MPa, but below 75 cm, bedrock water potential was still > –2.2 MPa. Thus, the bedrock, not the soil, supplied water to plants for the remainder of the dry season. Higher values of, and smaller fluctuations in, seasonal predawn pressure potential for Jeffrey pine indicated that it is deeply rooted, whereas active roots of greenleaf manzanita were interpreted to be mostly within the upper 100 cm. The extra rooting volume supplied by weathered bedrock is especially important to pine relative to manzanita.

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    Citation

    Hubbert, K.R.; Beyers, J.L.; Graham, R.C. 2001. Roles of weathered bedrock and soil in seasonal water relations of Pinus Jeffreyi and Arctostaphylos patula. Canadian Journal of Forestry. 31: 1947-1957

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