Plant and Soil

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 315–326 | Cite as

Maximum axial and radial growth pressures of plant roots

  • R. K. Misra
  • A. R. Dexter
  • A. M. Alston


The axial root growth force exerted by seedlings of pea (Pisum sativum cv. Greenfeast), cotton (Gossypium hirsutum cv. Sicot 3) and sunflower (Helianthus annuus cv. Hysun) was measured. Effects of different seedling age and different batches of seeds on axial root growth pressure were investigated.

Mean values of the maximum axial root growth pressure (Pa) estimated from the maximum axial root growth force (Fmax) and root diameter were 497, 289, and 238 kPa respectively for pea, cotton and sunflower seedlings of same size. Pa and Fmax were significantly influenced by seedling age and for pea seedlings of same age they varied with the seed batch.

A new technique was developed for estimating radial root growth pressure and was tested on pea seedlings. Each pea root was confined both in the axial and radial directions in a cylindrical chalk sample at a constant water potential. The roots exerted radial stress which caused tensile failure in a proportion of the chalks. The measurement of tensile strength of duplicate chalks enabled estimation of the maximum radial pressures exerted by the roots. The maximum axial and radial root growth pressures were of comparable magnitude.

Key words

Axial growth pressure Gossypium hirsutum Helianthus annuus Pisum sativum Radial growth pressure Root diameter 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. K. Misra
    • 1
  • A. R. Dexter
    • 1
  • A. M. Alston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, Waite Agricultural Research InstituteThe University of AdelaideGlen Osmond

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