Fine root distributions in oilseed and pulse crops

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Fine roots are of great importance in the uptake of water and nutrients from, and input of, carbon to the soil. This study determined the proportion of extra fine (<0.4-mm diameter) to fine (0.4- to 2.0-mm diameter) roots and their distribution patterns for important oilseed and pulse crops. Crops were grown in 150-mm diameter, 1-m long lysimeters in the field near Swift Current, SK, in 2006–2007. For oilseeds (Brassica napus L. canola, Brassica juncea L. mustard, Linum usitatissimum L. flax), roots in the 0.0- to 0.2-mm diameter class comprised about 60% of the total root length, roots in the 0.2- to 0.4-mm diameter about 30%, and those in the diameter class >0.4 mm contributed a small proportion to the total. For pulses (Cicer arietinum L. chickpea, Pisum sativum L. dry pea, and Lens culinaris Medik. lentil), the proportion of roots in the 0- to 0.2-mm diameter was much smaller than that for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), whereas the proportions of roots in the thicker (0.4 to 0.6, 0.6 to 0.8, and 0.8 to 2.0 mm) diameters were greater than those for wheat. The relative distribution patterns of extra fine and fine roots in oilseeds, pulses, and wheat may provide a guide for further study of detailed rooting systems for oilseeds and pulses.

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