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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Role of Roots in Maximum Soil Productivity

Author
item Kovar, John

Submitted to: Fluid Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 2001
Publication Date: May 1, 2001
Citation: KOVAR, J.L. THE ROLE OF ROOTS IN MAXIMUM SOIL PRODUCTIVITY. FLUID JOURNAL. 2001. V. 9(2). P. 18-21.

Interpretive Summary: A lot of time and money is spent in an effort to provide a hospitable environment for plant roots to grow. Given the recent advances in agricultural production, such as prescription application of nutrients and the introduction of genetically-modified crop plants, the study of the "hidden half" of the crop is now more important than ever. The first step in improving the effectiveness of nutrient management practices is understanding how plant root systems interact with the soil. In this article, I review various soil conditions that affect root growth and development and discuss the relationship of root growth to nutrient availability and uptake. This basic knowledge will ensure that maximum soil productivity and profitability are sustained and that the environmental impact of nutrient use is minimized. These goals are of great interest to both commercial growers and the fertilizer industry.

Technical Abstract: A significant amount of production capital and labor is expended in an effort to provide an environment conducive to plant root growth. With the advent of prescription application of nutrients and the potential to use biotechnology to engineer efficient root systems, research efforts directed toward the "hidden half" of the crop are now more important than ever. The first step in improving the effectiveness of nutrient management practices is understanding how plant root systems interact with the soil. This basic knowledge will ensure that maximum soil productivity and profitability are sustained and that the environmental impact of nutrient use is minimized. The purpose of this article is both to provide a brief overview of natural and management-induced factors affecting root growth and development and to discuss the relationship of root growth to nutrient availability and uptake. This will not be an exhaustive review of all current research related to roots and root growth, but will provide basic information on the subject.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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