, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 41-47

A procedure for determining average root length density in row crops by single-site augering

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Abstract

A simplified procedure has been formulated and tested for determining average root length density (RLD) by auger sampling at a single site in wheat, corn and mustard. It involves the determination of horizontal root distribution in the representative half of the unit soil strip (distance from base of plant to mid-point in the rows) by excavating small monolith segments in the top soil layer. Average RLD is computed by dividing the integral of polynomial function fitted to the horizontal root distribution (in the unit soil strip) with its length. The average RLD, thus, obtained is interpolated on the curve between root length density and horizontal distance from the plant base (d) in the representative half of the unit soil strip. Root length density determined by centering 5 cm diameter auger at the interpolated d gave minimum deviation from the average RLD of that layer compared to the other possible single site sampling schemes with same-sized auger. These results indicate that for row crops, the best centre for single-site augering is about one-third of distance from the plant base to mid-way between the two rows.