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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Seedling Growth of Sorghum in Clay-Sand Mixtures at Various Compactions and Water Contents1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 38 No. 3, p. 387-390
    Received: July 16, 1973
    Accepted: Jan 14, 1974

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  1. Delroy L. Hemsath and
  2. Andrew P. Mazurak2



Mixtures of kaolinite clay and fine sand fraction from Tripp subsoil (Typic Haplustoll) were prepared with 1.0, 3.8, 7.5, 15, and 30% clay. The clay-sand mixtures were compacted into cylinders at bulk densities of 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, and 1.75 g · cm-3. The cores were then subjected to matric suctions of 0.15, 0.33, 1.7, and 8.6 bars.

Penetrometer resistance of the cores increased from 0.25 to 68 kg · cm-2 as the bulk density of clay-sand mixture increased from 1.00 to 1.75 g·cm-3. Matric suction of the clay-sand mixture contributed much to the increased penetrometer resistance with a correlation coefficient of 0.57.

The elongation of sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] roots in the cores increased as the clay content increased from 1.0 to 7.5% at all bulk densities when the matric suction was <1.7 bar. Further increase in the clay content decreased the root elongation. The largest negative correlation coefficient (r = −0.65) between root elongation and variables studied was with matric suction. It was considered to be the major factor affecting root length. Penetrometer resistance of clay-sand mixture was critical in relating soil physical conditions to root growth. At a penetrometer resistance of 20 kg·cm-2 or greater, no root growth in the clay-sand mixtures was observed.

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