A comparison between minirhizotron and monolith sampling methods for measuring root growth of maize (Zea mays L.)
Transparent plastic minirhizotron tubes have been used to evaluate spatial and temporal growth activities of plant root systems. Root number was estimated from video recordings of roots intersecting minirhizotron tubes and of washed roots extracted from monoliths of the same soil profiles at the physiological maturity stage of a maize (Zea mays L.) crop. Root length was measured by the line intercept (LI) and computer image processing (CIP) methods from the monolith samples.
There was a slight significant correlation (r=0.28, p<0.005) between the number of roots measured by minirhizotron and root lengths measured by the LI method, however, no correlation was found with the CIP method. Using a single regression line, root number was underestimated by the minirhizotron method at depths between 0–7.6 cm. A correlation was found between root length estimated by LI and CIP. The slope of estimated RLD was significant with depth for these two methods. Root length density (RLD) measured by CIP showed a more erratic decline with distance from the plant row and soil surface than the LI method.
Key wordsimage processing methods maize minirhizotron Zea mays L.
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