Soil phosphorus (P) availability is critical for the early growth and development of maize (Zea mays L.). Soil P also affects root morphological and physiological characteristics that are important for P uptake. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of P on seedling root growth and development of two maize genotypes differing in root system plasticity. Two maize genotypes, CM37 (high plasticity) and W153R (low plasticity), were selected based on a preliminary study. Maize plants were evaluated at six vegetative stages of development for three soil P treatments (0, 45, and 300 mg kg-1). Seedlings were grown in a controlled environment using a soil with low native P, Maddock sandy loam (sandy, mixed Udorthentic Haploborolls). The addition of P decreased the time to reach a given growth stage and increased the relative growth rate of roots to a greater degree in CM37 than in W153R. The effects of P on shoot dry weight and root surface area during the V4–V6 growth period appeared to be related to the effects of P on development and relative growth rates during the V1–V3 growth period. Evaluation of the time course of phenotypic change is an important consideration when developing adapted genotypes for specific environments.
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Hajabbasi, M.A., Schumacher, T.E. Phosphorus effects on root growth and development in two maize genotypes. Plant Soil 158, 39–46 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00007915
- growth stage
- nodal roots
- phenotypic plasticity
- relative growth rate
- root surface area
- seminal roots
- Zea mays L.