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Fine root development of alfalfa as affected by wheel traffic

Rechel, E.A. and Meek, B.D. and DeTar, W.R. and Carter, L.M. (1990) Fine root development of alfalfa as affected by wheel traffic. Agronomy Journal. 82:618-622.

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Root development in alfalfa (Medicago satire L.) is dependent of
many factors including the soil environment which is influenced by
crop management procedures. Soil compaction, which is unavoidable
under current management procedures, can have a detrimental effect
on root development. The purpose of this field experiment was to
compare the effects of controlled and conventional traffic management
on alfalfa fine root growth in a Wasco sandy loam (coarse-loamy,
mixed, nonacid thermic Typic Torriorthent). No wheel traffic
and traffic only before planting were compared to two conventional
systems that varied in the amount of traffic applied during crop
production. Twenty months after planting, there was a significant
decrease in fine root density (FRD) from single passes of traffic after
each harvest down to a 0.45-m depth while several passes after each
harvest significantly decreased FRD down to 1.8-m depth. Regardless
of treatment, root density was greatest in the upper 0.1 m of
soil decreasing to 1.8 m in the first summer. By the second summer
FRD showed bimodal distribution with significantly fewer roots at
0.3 to 0.6 m compared to layers above and below this depth. Seasonally
there was a significantly higher root density during the winter than the summer in the upper 0.3 m of soil. The results of this
study shows that alfalfa fine roots more thoroughly exploit the soil
volume in the absence of wheel traffic and that compaction from
traffic diminished root growth to different depths depending on its

Item Type: Article
NWISRL Publication Number: 0713
Subjects: Irrigated crops > Alfalfa
Mass Import - autoclassified (may be erroneous)
Depositing User: Dan Stieneke
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2010 21:53
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2017 17:17
Item ID: 536