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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 3, p. 350-355
    Received: Mar 9, 1973

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Root Development and Growth Response of Corn Following Mulching, Cultivation, or Interrow Compaction1

  1. M. R. Chaudhary and
  2. S. S. Prihar2



Field studies were conducted to determine the effect of interrow management on root growth and rooting pattern in corn (Zea mays L.) and to relate these with changes in soil environment. Four cultural treatments, 1) control 2) 5-cm deep postplanting cultivation, 3) 2-cm thick straw mulch, and 4) interrow compaction, were established on sandy loam and loamy sand soils during 1970 and 1971. Straw mulch and cultivation enhanced root growth in the upper 15 cm of soil and increased the lateral spread of roots both years. The mulch treatment had less roots than the control below 15 cm. The cultivated plants had more symmetric root distribution. Interrow compaction inhibited lateral spread of roots in the surface layers and caused downward growth of roots. At the 5-cm depth straw mulch reduced the maximum soil temperature by 2.6 C in 1970 and 2.3 to 6.3 C in 1971. Greater lateral spread and enhanced root growth in the surface layers of mulched plots were associated with reduction of soil temperature and reduction of moisture losses and resulted in better plant growth and higher yield.

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