The effect of compacted soil layers on vertical root distribution and water uptake by wheat
Background and aims
Soil compaction strongly affects water uptake by roots. The aim of the work was to examine soil—plant interactions with focus on the impact of distribution of compacted soil layers on growth and water uptake by wheat roots.
The growth-chamber experiment was conducted on wheat growth in soil with compacted soil layers. The system for maintaining constant soil water potential and measurement of daily water uptake from variously compacted soil layers was used.
Layered soil compaction differentiated vertical root distribution to higher extent for root length than root mass. The propagation rate of a water extraction front was the highest through layers of moderately compacted soil. The root water uptake rate was on average 67 % higher from moderately than heavily compacted soil layers. Correlations between water uptake and the length of thick roots were increasing with increasing level of soil compaction.
The study shows that root amount, water uptake, propagation of water extraction and shoot growth strongly depend on the existence of compacted layers within soil profile. The negative effects of heavily compacted subsoil layer on water uptake were partly compensated by increased uptake from looser top soil layers and significant contribution of thicker roots in water uptake.
KeywordsWater uptake Root length density Root diameter Soil compaction Spring wheat
Soil column with loose soil (1.30 Mg m−3)
Soil column with loose soil in 0–10 and 10–20 cm layers and moderately compacted soil in 20–30 and 30–40 cm layers (1.50 Mg m−3)
Soil column with moderately compacted soil in 0–10 and 10–20 cm layers (1.50 Mg m−3) and heavily compacted soil in 20–30 and 30–40 cm layers (1.72 Mg m−3)
Days after planting
Root mass density
Root length density
Root water uptake rate
- Anderson SH (2011) Claypan and its environmental effects. In: Gliński J, Horabik J, Lipiec J (eds) Encyclopedia of agrophysics. Springer Dordrecht, Heidelberg, pp 122–125Google Scholar
- Birkás M (2008) Environmentally-sound adaptable tillage. Akademia Kiado, BudapestGoogle Scholar
- Feddes RA, Raats PAC (2004) Parametrizing the soil-water-plant root system. In: Fedes RA, de Rooij GH, van Dam JC (eds) Unsaturated zone modeling: progress, challenges and applications. Wageningen UR Frontis series. Kluwer Academic Publ, Dordrecht, pp 95–141Google Scholar
- Gregory P (2006) Plant roots growth, activity and interaction with soils. Blackwell Publishing LtdGoogle Scholar
- Håkansson I (2005) Machinery-induced compaction of arable soils, incidence–cnsequences–counter-measures. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Reports from the division of soil management, no. 109Google Scholar
- Horn R, Peth S (2011) Mechanics of unsaturated soils for agricultural applications. Chapter 3. In: Huang PM, Li Y, Sumner ME (eds) Handbook of soil sciences, 2nd edn. Taylor and Francis, p 31Google Scholar
- Krounbi L, Lazarovitch N (2011) Soil hydraulic properties affecting root water uptake. In: Gliński J, Horabik J, Lipiec J (eds) Encyclopedia of agrophysics. Springer Dordrecht, Heidelberg, pp 748–754Google Scholar
- Nosalewicz A, Nosalewicz M (2011) The effect of soil compaction on dehydrogenase activity in bulk soil and rhizosphere. Int Agrophysics 25(1):47–51Google Scholar
- Nosalewicz A, Iijima M, Lipiec J (2011) Use of porous tubes for measuring of water extraction by roots and simultaneous maintaining of soil water potential in growth chamber experiments. Acta Agrophysica 18(2):347–354Google Scholar
- Steudle E, Peterson CA (1998) How does water get through roots? J Exp Bot 49:775–788Google Scholar
- Thornley JHM, Johnson IR (2000) Plant and crop modeling: a mathematical approach to plant and crop physiology. The Blackburn PressGoogle Scholar
- Tracy SR, Black TC, Roberts JA, McNeill A, Davidson R, Tester M, Samec M, Korošak D, Sturrock C, Mooney SJ (2012) Quantifying the effect of soil compaction on three varieties of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) using X-ray Micro Computed Tomography (CT). Plant Soil 353:195–208. doi: 10.1007/s11104-011-1022-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar