[NAFEX] Nursery effect study shows trees remember their roots

mIEKAL aND qazingulaza at gmail.com
Tue Jul 12 09:05:41 EDT 2011

(this is something I wonder about often, not so much for drought
resistance but for hardiness, since I often buy the same cultivar from
multiple nurseries in different hardiness zones...  I've yet to have a
nursery owner suggest that there might be an issue with buying a zone
4 plant from a zone 7/8 nursery)

Nursery effect study shows trees remember their roots
By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News


Genetically identical forest trees raised in different environments
react differently when exposed to drought conditions, a study has

The authors have said it is the first scientific critique of the
"nursery effect", in which trees develop certain profiles based on
where they are grown.

The team took the same varieties of trees from different areas and
measured how their responses to drought varied.

The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The nursery effect is something that had been noted in an anecdotal
fashion by foresters and gardeners," explained co-author Malcolm
Campbell from the University of Toronto.

The team found that it had not be reported or documented in any detail
within scientific journals, yet it was a concept that was being widely

Professor Campbell explained how it could have an impact on commercial growers.

"Imagine you want to set up a new orchard, and you go to one nursery
to get a sample," he told BBC News. "You put it in your orchard, and
you decide that you like that variety of tree.

"So you decide to get more but you have to go to a different nursery
to get more. You put those in your orchard and you find that - for
whatever reason - those trees do not fare so well, even though they
are genetically identical to the original tree."
Continue reading the main story
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    Might there be something similar to a nursery effect that offers
protection in the natural world?”

Professor Malcolm Campbell University of Toronto

He added that unlocking the secrets of the nursery effect would also
help solve a scientific conundrum of how genetically identical
long-lived organisms that propagate vegetatively, such as aspens via
suckers growing from the root system, can be resistant to extreme
weather, pests and pathogens.

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