Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2005
Publication Date: March 23, 2005
Citation: Ritchie, J.C., Gitz, D.C. 2005. Root development of field grown eastern gamagrass [abstract]. Southeastern Biologist. 52(2):206-207. Technical Abstract: Eastern gamagrass cv. 'Pete' [Tripsacum dactyloides (L) L.] seeds were planted in a 30 x 30 m plot in 0.75 m wide rows on May 15, 2002. The plot was irrigated to insure germination. Twelve minirhizotron access tubes (1.5 m length) were installed parallel to the rows at 45-'degree angle and installed in pairs either within or midway between the rows. Images of root development were collected at 13.5 mm intervals to a depth of approximately 1 m (100 images for each tube). In situ images were collected at approximately 1-week intervals in 2002, 2-week intervals in 2003, and 3-week intervals in 2004 using a Bartz minirhizotron imaging system. One month after emergence total root occupancy (percentage of images along the tube exhibiting roots) was 1.5 and 0.0% within and between rows, respectively. By the end of the first year occupancy was 45% within the rows and 15% between rows, with a few roots observed reaching a depth of 1 m. By the end of the second year approximately 60 and 30 % of the images had roots with many below 1 m at the in-row sites. At the end of the third year occupancy was similar to the second year but the numbers and dimension of roots had increased. This study shows both how rapidly roots develop in eastern gamagrass plants and is suggestive of a fan-like distribution of roots under the developing crowns.