Comparison of the penetration of primary and lateral roots of pea and different tree seedlings growing in hard soils

Azam, Gausul and Grant, Cameron D. and Murray, Robert S. and Nuberg, Ian K. and Misra, Rabindra K. (2014) Comparison of the penetration of primary and lateral roots of pea and different tree seedlings growing in hard soils. Soil Research, 52 (1). pp. 87-96. ISSN 1838-675X


Establishment and survival of tree seedlings in hard soils depends on production of deep root systems. This study evaluated the primary and lateral roots of an annual crop and several tree species growing in soils of varying strength. We grew peas and acacias by direct seeding, plus three eucalypts by direct seeding and transplanting, and measured various root characteristics. At all levels of soil compaction, the primary roots of acacia were thicker and they elongated faster than did those of the eucalypts. However, lateral roots of transplanted eucalypts elongated faster than their primary roots, and the rate of root elongation was negatively correlated with soil penetration resistance, especially for Eucalyptus camaldulensis. The primary root diameter of all plants increased with increasing penetration resistance, but acacia roots continued to elongate faster than pea roots. Pea plants produced most of their roots in the top 5cm, whereas tree roots were more uniformly distributed with depth. Although not statistically significant at P≤0.05, the relative rate of root elongation in very hard soil correlated modestly (P≤0.11) with the maximum root growth pressure of four tree species. These variations in root growth behaviour can be related to the intrinsic variability of root characteristics for each plant species and the natural abundance of each species in different environments.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © CSIRO 2014. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 May 2015 01:36
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 04:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: Acacia; compaction; direct seeding; Eucalyptus; Pisum; root penetration; transplanting
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0607 Plant Biology > 060705 Plant Physiology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050305 Soil Physics
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070507 Tree Improvement (Selection and Breeding)
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/SR13201

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