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Root Response to Water Stress in Rainfed Lowland Rice

  • M. Thangaraj (a1), J. C. O'Toole (a1) and S. K. De Datta (a1)

The relation between soil mechanical impedance as a result of soil drying, and root system growth (mass and length density) of rice was investigated in greenhouse and field studies. In a greenhouse experiment, soil drying for 16 days increased mechanical impedance in the 0–20 cm soil layer from near 0 to 2.5 MPa, and decreased root growth by 47% compared to the continuously flooded control. Root length density decreased with decreasing soil moisture and increasing soil mechanical impedance. In a lowland field experiment using a sprinkler irrigation gradient treatment for 19 days during the vegetative growth stage, soil mechanical impedance as low as 0.01 MPa inhibited root growth while values greater than 0.3–0.5 MPa decreased root growth and extension by 75%. The relative loss of potential root growth was continued after reflooding. Root length density, measured at flowering, was linearly related to yield.

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Experimental Agriculture
  • ISSN: 0014-4797
  • EISSN: 1469-4441
  • URL: /core/journals/experimental-agriculture
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