Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2016, Vol. 15 Issue (05): 1112-1120    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(15)61204-7
Soil & Fertilization﹒Irrigation﹒Plant Nutrition﹒ Agro-Ecology & Environment Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
The inflence of soil drying- and tillage-induced penetration resistance on maize root growth in a clayey soil
LIN Li-rong, HE Yang-bo, CHEN Jia-zhou
Key Laboratory of Arable Land Conservation (Middle and Lower Reaches of Yangtze River), Ministry of Agriculture, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Abstract      Soil drying may induce a number of stresses on crops. This paper investigated maize (Zea mays L.) root growth as affected by drought and soil penetration resistance (PR), which was caused by soil drying and tillage in a clayey red soil. Compared with conventional tillage (C) and deep tillage (D), soil compaction (P) and no-till (N) significantly increased soil PR in the 0–15 cm layer. The PR increased dramatically as the soil drying increased, particularly in soil with a high bulk density. Increased soil PR reduced the maize root mass density distribution not only in the vertical profile (0–20 cm) but also in the horizontal layer at the same distance (0–5, 5–10, 10–15 cm) from the maize plant. With an increase in soil PR in pots, the maize root length, root surface area and root volume significantly decreased. Specifically, the maize root length declined exponentially from 309 to 64 cm per plant with an increase in soil PR from 491 to 3 370 kPa; the roots almost stopped elongating when the soil PR was larger than 2 200 kPa. It appeared that fine roots (<2.5 mm in diameter) thickened when the soil PR increased, resulting in a larger average root diameter. The average root diameter increased linearly with soil PR, regardless of soil irrigation or drought. The results suggest that differences in soil PR caused by soil drying is most likely responsible for inconsistent root responses to water stress in different soils.
Keywords:  clayey soil        root diameter        root elongation        soil compaction        water stress  
Received: 09 April 2015   Accepted: 03 May 2016

This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271240).

Corresponding Authors:  CHEN Jia-zhou, Mobile: +86-13871079233, Tel: +86-27-87283960, E-mail:    
About author:  LIN Li-rong, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

LIN Li-rong, HE Yang-bo, CHEN Jia-zhou. 2016. The inflence of soil drying- and tillage-induced penetration resistance on maize root growth in a clayey soil. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 15(05): 1112-1120.

Adiku S K, Ozier-Lafontaine H, Bajazet T. 2001. Patterns of root growth and water uptake of a maize-cowpea mixture grown under greenhouse conditions. Plant and Soil, 235, 85–94.

Arvidsson J, Håkansson I. 2014. Response of different crops to soil compaction-short-term effects in Swedish field experiments. Soil and Tillage Research, 138, 56–63.

Bengough A G, McKenzie B M, Hallett P D, Valentine T A. 2011. Root elongation, water stress, and mechanical impedance: A review of limiting stresses and beneficial root tip traits. Journal of Experimental Botany, 62, 59–68.

Chen J Z, Lin L R, Lu G A. 2010. An index of soil drought intensity and degree: An application on corn and a comparison with CWSI. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 865–871.

Clark L J, Cope R E, Whalley W R, Barraclough P B, Wade L J. 2002. Root penetration of strong soil in rainfed lowland rice: Comparison of laboratory screens with field performance. Field Crops Research, 76, 189–198.

Dexter A R, Czyz E A, Gate O P. 2007. A method for prediction of soil penetration resistance. Soil and Tillage Research, 93, 412–419.

Håkansson I, Lipiec J. 2000. A review of the usefulness of relative bulk density values in studies of soil structure and compaction. Soil and Tillage Research, 53, 71–85.

Haling R E, Simpson R J, Culvenor R A, Lambers H, Richardson A E. 2011. Effect of soil acidity, soil strength and macropores on root growth and morphology of perennial grass species differing in acid-soil resistance. Plant Cell and Environment, 34, 444–456.

Haro R J, Dardanelli J L, Otegui M E, Collino D J. 2008. Seed yield determination of peanut crops under water deficit: Soil strength effects on pod set, the source-sink ratio and radiation use efficiency. Field Crops Research, 109, 24–33.

Hill R L, Cruse R M. 1985. Tillage effects on bulk density and soil strength of two Mollisols. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 49, 1270–1273.

Hodge A. 2009. Root decisions. Plant Cell and Environment, 32, 628–640.

Hoogenboom G, Huck M G, Peterson C M. 1987. Root growth rate of soybean as affected by drought stress. Agronomy Journal, 79, 607–614.

Kad?ien? G, Munkholm L J, Mutegi J K. 2011. Root growth conditions in the topsoil as affected by tillage intensity. Geoderma, 166, 66–73.

Kirkegaard J A, So H B, Troedson R J, Wallis E S. 1992. The effect of compaction on the growth of pigeonpea on clay soils. I. Mechanisms of crop response and seasonal effects on a vertisol in a sub-humid environment. Soil and Tillage Research, 24, 107–127.

Konôpka B, Noguchi K, Sakata T, Takahashi M, Konôpková Z. 2007. Effects of simulated drought stress on the fine roots of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) in a plantation forest on the Kanto Plain, eastern Japan. Journal of Forest Research (Japan), 12, 143–151.

Leach K A, Hejlek L G, Hearne L B, Nguyen H T, Sharp R E, Davis G L. 2011. Primary root elongation rate and abscisic acid levels of maize in response to water stress. Crop Science, 51, 157–172.

Liu W, Shan L, Deng X. 2001. Responses of plant to soil compaction. Plant Physiology Communications, 37, 254–260. (in Chinese)

Mullins C E, Blackwell P S, Tisdall J M. 1992. Strength development during drying of a cultivated, flood-irrigated hard setting soil. I. Comparison with a structurally stable soil. Soil and Tillage Research, 25, 113–128.

Olmo M, Lopez-Iglesias B, Villar R. 2014. Drought changes the structure and elemental composition of very fine roots in seedlings of ten woody tree species. Implications for a drier climate. Plant and Soil, 384, 113–129.

Passioura J B. 2002. Soil conditions and plant growth. Plant, Cell and Environment, 25, 311–318.

Radcliffe D E, Clark R L, Tollner E W, Hargrove W L, Golabi M H. 1988. Effect of tillage practices on infiltration and soil strength of a typic Hapludult soil after ten years. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 52, 798–804.

Rich S M, Watt M. 2013. Soil conditions and cereal root system architecture: Review and considerations for linking Darwin and Weaver. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64, 1193–1208.

Da Silva A P, Kay B D. 1997. Estimating the least water range of soils from properties and management. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 61, 877–883.

Singh D K, Sale P W G. 2000. Growth and potential conductivity of white clover roots in dry soil with increasing phosphorus supply and defoliation frequency. Agronomy Journal, 92, 868–874.

Tracy S R, Black C R, Roberts J A, Mooney S J. 2011. Soil compaction: A review of past and present techniques for investigating effects on root growth. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91, 1528–1537.

Veen B W, Noordwijk M, Willigen P, Boone F R, Kooistra M J. 1992. Root-soil contact of maize, as measured by a thin-section technique. Plant and Soil, 139, 131–138.

Whalley W R, Clark L J, Gowing D J G, Cope R E, Lodge R J, Leeds-Harrison P B. 2006. Does soil strength play a role in wheat yield losses caused by soil drying? Plant and Soil, 280, 279–290.

Whalley W R, Leeds-Harrison P B, Clark L J, Gowing D J G. 2005. The use of exective stress to predict the penetrometer resistance of unsaturated agricultural soils. Soil and Tillage Research, 84, 18–27.

Whalley W R, Watts C W, Gregory A S, Mooney S J, Clark L J, Whitmore A P. 2008. The effect of soil strength on the yield of wheat. Plant and Soil, 306, 237–247.

White R G, Kirkegaard J A. 2010. The distribution and abundance of wheat roots in a dense, structured subsoil-implications for water uptake. Plant Cell and Environment, 33, 133–148.

Whitmore A P, Whalley W R. 2009. Physical effects of soil drying on roots and crop growth. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60, 2845–2857.

Whitmore A, Whalley W, Bird N, Watts C, Gregory A. 2011. Estimating soil strength in the rooting zone of wheat. Plant and Soil, 339, 363–375.

Zang U, Goisser M, Häberle K H, Matyssek R, Matzner E, Borken W. 2014. Effects of drought stress on photosynthesis, rhizosphere respiration, and fine-root characteristics of beech saplings: A rhizotron field study. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 177, 168–177.
[1] Maryam KOLAHI, Elham FAGHANI, Andrea GOLDSON-BARNABY, Borhan SOHRAB. Physiological traits and anatomic structures of the seed for two short cotton season genotypes (Gossypium hirsutum L.) under water stress[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(1): 89-98.
[2] Muhammad Riaz, Jehanzeb Farooq, Saghir Ahmed, Muhammad Amin, Waqas Shafqat Chattha, Maria Ayoub, Riaz Ahmed Kainth. Stability analysis of different cotton genotypes under normal and water-deficit conditions[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(6): 1257-1265.
[3] ZHANG Yi, SHI Yu, GONG Hai-jun, ZHAO Hai-liang, LI Huan-li, HU Yan-hong, WANG Yi-chao. Beneficial effects of silicon on photosynthesis of tomato seedlings under water stress[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(10): 2151-2159.
No Suggested Reading articles found!