Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Over 4 million hectares of Midwestern cropland are claypan soils. Most of these are in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. These soils require attentive management due to the montmorillonitic clay subsoil that hinders air and water movement resulting in seasonal wetness that confounds farming operations. Claypan soils could be more productive if improving internal drainage by enhancing the porosity of the clay horizon were possible. Thi study was performed to examine root penetration of the restrictive claypan horizon by a deep-rooted warm-season perennial grass: Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides). A range of several native and cultivated Eastern gamagrass stands ranging from two to over 20 years old was selected. Soil water content as an indicator of rooting depth and water uptake was measured by neutron attenuation at 15-cm intervals to a depth of 1.5-m from June through September, 1995. Soil cores were taken to 1.5-m depth and examined for root length, diameter, and density. Observations indicate that Eastern gamagrass roots do penetrate the restrictive layer that characterizes a claypan soil.