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Root Growth Of Wheat. I. Early Patterns Of Multiplication And Extension Of Wheat Roots Including Effects Of Levels Of Nitrogen, Phosphorus And Potassium

D Tennant

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Wheat root growth was followed to 30 days from planting in wheat supplied with standard, twofold, half and nil levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Root numbers and lengths followed consistent patterns of increase in the seminal and nodal root systems of all treatments. Most root components demonstrated their highest rates of relative increase in length and number immediately after first appearance. Within a few days this decreased to a constant rate of increase which continued until the end of the experiment. Rates during the stages of constant relative increase were higher with increasing order of lateral, and the same for all treatments, except when nutrient deficiency seriously suppressed root growth. Potassium deficiency stopped root growth completely within 10–12 days of planting. Nitrogen and phosphorus deficiencies gave increasing delays in root component appearance with increasing order of lateral. Increasing suppression of seminal lateral numbers and a severe suppression of nodal root growth followed. Lower root numbers caused by nitrogen deficiency were compensated by greater lateral lengths in the seminal but not the nodal root systems. Some reduction in root growth resulted from application of the half and twofold levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All responses to applied nutrient levels were more obvious with increasing order of lateral and with the nodal rather than seminal root systems. The nodal root system reflected plant response better than the seminal root system.