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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » National Sedimentation Laboratory » Watershed Physical Processes Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321679

Research Project: Technologies for Managing Water and Sediment Movement in Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research

Title: Effects of field experimental warming on wheat root distribution under conventional tillage and no-tillage systems

Author
item HOU, RUIXING - Institute Of Geographic Sciences And Natural Resources
item ZHU, OUYANG - Institute Of Geographic Sciences And Natural Resources
item HAN, DAORUI - Institute Of Geographic Sciences And Natural Resources
item Wilson, Glenn

Submitted to: Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/26/2017
Publication Date: 3/5/2018
Citation: Hou, R., Zhu, O., Han, D., Wilson, G.V. 2018. Effects of field experimental warming on wheat root distribution under conventional tillage and no-tillage systems. Ecology and Evolution. 8(5):2418-2427. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3864.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3864

Interpretive Summary: Human-induced climate change is expected to increase global temperature, but its impact on crop roots is poorly understood, especially under different tillage systems. We conducted a 4-year warming experiment on winter wheat in the North China Plain to study the response of root distribution to warming and how the response depends upon the tillage system. Continuous warming (by infrared heater) increased soil temperature by nearly 2 °C at 5 cm soil depth. Soil samples were collected across two rows of wheat to determined root biomass from three soil layers (0-10, 10-20 and 20-30 cm). We found warming significantly increased winter wheat root biomass under both Till (conventional tillage) and No-till systems by 9.9 and 14.5% across the 0-30 cm soil profile, respectively. However, the distribution of roots within the soil profile in response to warming differed between the two tillage systems. Increases were observed in the deeper soil layers (10-20 and 20-30 cm) for Till, while the increase for No-till was focused in the surface (0-10cm) layer. We concluded that differences in nitrogen (N) fertilizer application, SOC distribution, and soil bulk density between the two tillage systems were responsible for the different responses of root biomass distribution to warming. This study contributes to improved prediction of the impacts of warming on root growth and soil C cycling under different tillage systems.

Technical Abstract: Human-induced climate change is expected to increase global temperature, but its ecological impact on crop roots is poorly understood, especially under different tillage systems. We conducted a 4-year warming experiment on winter wheat in the North China Plain to study the response of root distribution to warming and how the response depends upon the tillage system. Continuous warming (by infrared heater) increased soil temperature by nearly 2 °C at 5 cm soil depth. Three-dimensional (3D) soil monoliths were collected across two rows of wheat and dissected to determined root biomass from three soil layers (0-10, 10-20 and 20-30 cm). We found warming significantly increased winter wheat root biomass under both Till (conventional tillage) and No-till systems by 9.9 and 14.5% across the 0-30 cm soil profile, respectively. However, the distribution of roots within the soil profile in response to warming differed between the two tillage systems. Increases were observed in the deeper soil layers (10-20 and 20-30 cm) for Till, while the increase for No-till was focused in the surface (0-10cm) layer. We considered the differences in nitrogen (N) fertilizer application, SOC distribution, and soil bulk density between the two tillage systems were responsible for the different responses of root biomass distribution to warming. This study contributes to improved prediction of the impacts of warming on root growth and soil C cycling under different tillage systems.