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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DRYLAND CROPPING SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT FOR THE CENTRAL GREAT PLAINS

Location: Central Plains Resources Management Research

Title: Effect of soil attributes on root growth and distribution in some common crops: A synthesis of knowledge and future needs

Author
item BENJAMIN, JOSEPH

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 29, 2012
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Citation: Benjamin, J.G. 2013. Effect of soil attributes on root growth and distribution in some common crops: A synthesis of knowledge and future needs. In: Timlin, D., and Ahuja, L.R., editors. Advances in Agricultural Systems Modeling 4. Madison, WI: Soil Science Society of America. p. 31-43.

Interpretive Summary: One of soil’s most important uses is as a medium for crop production. The primary way the soil interacts with the plant is through influences on the root system. The soil serves as an anchor for plant support and as a reservoir for water and plant nutrients. Various factors affect root extension and proliferation and also affect the function of the root in the soil environment. Soil management techniques such as tillage, crop residue cover, irrigation, fertilizer, or machinery traffic all can affect the temperature, water, and aeration status of the soil environment. Zonal differences in the physical condition of the soil can also affect root distribution and the response of the plant to unfavorable conditions. Maintaining the soil in a good condition for plant growth has been and will continue to be an important research topic. This paper addresses several soil physical conditions that affect the development and growth of root systems and proposes ways to include the physical condition of soil in models of plant and root growth that are responsive to soil management techniques.

Technical Abstract: One of soil’s most important uses is as a medium for crop production. The primary way the soil interacts with the plant is through influences on the root system. The soil serves as an anchor for plant support and as a reservoir for water and plant nutrients. Various factors affect root extension and proliferation and also affect the function of the root in the soil environment. Soil temperature appears to have a greater affect on root development compared with other limiting factors, whereas soil water status, aeration, photosynthate supply, and nutrient availability have a greater affect on root growth. Soil management techniques such as tillage, crop residue cover, irrigation, fertilizer, or machinery traffic all can affect the temperature, water, and aeration status of the soil environment. Zonal differences in the physical condition of the soil can also affect root distribution and the response of the plant to unfavorable conditions. Maintaining the soil in a good condition for plant growth has been and will continue to be an important research topic. This paper addresses several soil physical conditions that affect the development and growth of root systems and proposes ways to include the physical condition of soil in models of plant and root growth that are responsive to soil management techniques.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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