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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Soil Conditions and Root Distribution in Two Wet Meadows of the Nebraska Sandhills1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 6, p. 563-566
    Received: Oct 9, 1965

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  1. A. W. Moore2 and
  2. H. F. Rhoades3



Root distribution and properties of two meadow soils in the Nebraska Sandhills were studied. Profile 1 was alkaline while profile 2 was acidic. Both sites carried some legumes but late-maturing grasses predominated at site 1 and ear/y-maturing grasses at site 2.

Soil moisture was related to water-table level. Soil temperatures at the 4-in. depth remained between 60 and 75F for most of the growing season. Soil aeration was good throughout the growing season, the oxygen content to a depth of 2 to 3 feet rarely falling below 15%.

The broad pattern of root distribution in both soils consisted of a heavy concentration of roots near the surface and a rapid decline with depth. The total weight of roots to a depth of approximately 4 feet was 5.5 and 7.3 tons per acre for soils 1 and 2 respectively. One-half to two-thirds of the roots were found in the surface 2 inches. This broad pattern may be attributed to the influence of a high, fluctuating water table.

Soil chemical properties appeared to be the dominant factors resulting in differences in root distribution between the two soils. Grass root penetration virtually ceased on reaching sand low in nutrients.

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