Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2011
Publication Date: February 15, 2012
Citation: Zobel, R.W. 2012. Inherent agricultural constraints in Allegheny Plateau soils. Agronomy Journal. 104:493-496. Interpretive Summary: To feed the world’s burgeoning population, plant cultivars adapted to marginal soils will be needed. Little is know of the actual patterns of plant root system development. This research demonstrates one aspect of root system development: a predictable pattern of development in such a way that the roots can be characterized numerically in a relatively small database. This ability will assist in and speed up the development of root systems adapted to specific soils.
Technical Abstract: The worldwide need for increased production of food requires a combination of converting marginal land to agriculture and increased productivity and sustainability of crops on existing agricultural land. Grasses make up an important part of the food directly consumed by both humans and animals. If breeding for tolerance to marginal soils or for increased production is to be carried out, much more knowledge about grass root systems is needed. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. - Lp) is an important pasture and turf species in Europe and the Eastern U.S. Perennial ryegrass root systems are not made up of a continuous distribution of root diameters, but rather, are made up of a collection of discontinuous meso-diameter classes that can each be modeled as normal (Gaussian) curves. Perennial ryegrass root research which links root morphology to root function must image the roots at, at least, 200 px mm-1 to be able to document the meso-diameter classes involved and to describe the pattern of response, such as changing diameter, to imposed rhizosphere environments.