The stump and root systems of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and field-layer vegetation were sampled before and three growing seasons after drainage and fertilization of a low-shrub pine bog in SE Norway. Although the understorey vegetation roots responded significantly to nutrient application with higher concentrations of Ca and P, root biomass weights did not change. The fine and small pine roots responded with higher N, Ca, P and S concentrations, while those of Mn and Zn were significantly reduced. The NPK-application resulted in significantly higher pine root biomass. Relative to the total stores in the root zone the amounts of most elements in roots shifted to higher ratios at NPK-application. High figures for K, B and Mn indicate tight biochemical cycles of these elements. Compared to totals in above and below ground biomass, major parts of Fe and Pb were held by the roots. In contrast the field layer roots kept a very small per cent of total K, while the pine roots were low in Mn. The understorey vegetation was primarily restricted by P-deficiency, while the pine trees were also restricted by low supply of N. The field and the tree layer species seem to differ with respect to required nutrient concentrations in the root zone. These characteristics are important for direction and extent of successional changes after fertilization in low-shrub pine bog ecosystems.