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Root growth in the field is often slowed by a combination of soil physical stresses, including mechanical impedance, water stress, and oxygen deficiency. The stresses operating may vary continually, depending on the location of the root in the soil profile, the prevailing soil water conditions, and the degree to which the soil has been compacted. The(More)
Life on Earth is sustained by a small volume of soil surrounding roots, called the rhizosphere. The soil is where most of the biodiversity on Earth exists, and the rhizosphere probably represents the most dynamic habitat on Earth; and certainly is the most important zone in terms of defining the quality and quantity of the Human terrestrial food resource.(More)
Root elongation in drying soil is generally limited by a combination of mechanical impedance and water stress. Relationships between root elongation rate, water stress (matric potential), and mechanical impedance (penetration resistance) are reviewed, detailing the interactions between these closely related stresses. Root elongation is typically halved in(More)
A simple gel chamber is described for measurement of seedling root traits. Seedlings are located between two closely spaced flat layers of transparent gel, on plastic plates (at least one of which is transparent). Root system traits can be non-destructively recorded in two-dimensions using a flatbed scanner. Easily measured rooting traits include root(More)
BACKGROUND Plants form the base of the terrestrial food chain and provide medicines, fuel, fibre and industrial materials to humans. Vascular land plants rely on their roots to acquire the water and mineral elements necessary for their survival in nature or their yield and nutritional quality in agriculture. Major biogeochemical fluxes of all elements occur(More)
Root penetration resistance and elongation of maize seedling roots were measured directly in undisturbed cores of two sandy loam soils. Root elongation rate was negatively correlated with root penetration resistance, and was reduced to about 50 to 60% of that of unimpeded controls by a resistance of between 0.26 and 0.47 MPa. Resistance to a 30° semiangle,(More)
Root systems of individual crop plants may encounter large variations in mechanical impedance to root penetration. Split-root experiments were conducted to compare the effects of spatial variation in soil strength on the morphological plasticity of wheat and barley roots, and its relationship to shoot growth. Plants of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare cv(More)
Slope stability models traditionally use simple indicators of root system structure and strength when vegetation is included as a factor. However, additional root system traits should be considered when managing vegetated slopes to avoid shallow substrate mass movement. Traits including root distribution, length, orientation and diameter are recognized as(More)
BACKGROUND Electrical capacitance, measured between an electrode inserted at the base of a plant and an electrode in the rooting substrate, is often linearly correlated with root mass. Electrical capacitance has often been used as an assay for root mass, and is conventionally interpreted using an electrical model in which roots behave as cylindrical(More)
There is an urgent need for simple rapid screens of root traits that improve the acquisition of nutrients and water. Temperate cereals produce rhizosheaths of variable weight, a trait first noted on desert species sampled by Tansley over 100 yr ago. This trait is almost certainly important in tolerance to abiotic stress. Here, we screened association(More)