Indian Institute of Technology,
Powai, Mumbai, India 400076.
On Fri, 31 Oct 1997, joel b gruver wrote:
> Hello to all...
> I am freshly inspired in my thinking about soil quality following
> discussion with some of you at the ASA meetings in Anaheim.
> Since returning to MD I have been pondering simple methods
> for assessing soil physical condition...
> If one starts with the premise that high quality soil optimizes
> root development, then a logical approach to evaluating soil quality is to
> look at root development.
> We all know that exhuming an extensive root system is time
> consuming and tedious... and would not be an appropriate rountine soil
> test... but what about looking at root development at some point early in
> crop development... how about as early as emergence ?
> I am aware of studies evaluating crop cultivars in terms of rooting
> characteristics but have soils ever been evaluated in terms of their
> effect on rooting characteristics (e.g. depth, architecture, root:shoot
> ratio) ...
> What would the optimum phenological time for sampling be to see
> soil effects on roots but minimize sampling time ? What crop
> species would be best suited for a soil structure bioassay and which root
> characteristic would be simplest to measure yet be sensitive to
> soil structural quality ?
> I am planning to plant some seeds in intact 0-30cm soil cores and
> destructively sample after a minimum growth period... maybe at
> emergence... or 1 week after emergence...
> Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on any past studies using plants
> to bioassay soil structure or any recommendations for the development of a
> simple soil structure bioassay method.
> I wonder how many farmers have dug up crop plants to look at the roots ?
> It is easy to tell whether active nodulation has developed
> on legume roots.... what else can be quickly observed ??
> Joel Gruver
> Soil Quality Research
> U of MD
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