• newswise-fullscreen How does root depth affect the nearby soil?

    Credit: Credit: SV Fisk.

    Roots help plants get the nutrients and water they need for healthy growth. They also give back to the soil. The deeper and wider they go, the more benefits they provide to soil fertility and stable carbon storage in soils. Shown, a comparison of soybean root systems – the roots on the left are more robust and will serve the plant well.

Newswise — May 15, 2019 – The plant Kingdom (with extremely rare exception) is very special in that its members use the energy from sunlight directly in order to grow. This process is called photosynthesis. The energy from the sun is stored in the grains and vegetables people consume. In order to produce those grains and vegetables, plants must invest a significant amount of their energy into the development of their root systems. The Soil Science Society of America’s (SSSA) May 15th Soils Matter blog takes a look at factors that affect root growth.

According to blogger Jake Mowrer, TAMU, soil provides nearly all the things a plant could need, including:

  1. physical anchoring to the Earth’s surface preventing massive loss of plant life to outer space,
  2. many (but not all) nutrients required,
  3. water storage, and
  4. a habitat for beneficial organisms to interact with.

“However, the soil does not do all of this as freely as we might think,” says Mowrer, a soil scientist and educator. “Plants are not passive actors in the soil environment, humming along to themselves idle while nutrients and water jump into their roots. Rather, it takes a substantial amount of effort by the plants to wrest and wrangle away the basics needed to eke out a living from the soil. As a matter of survival, then, they must invest some of the energy gained from sunlight in this process.”

Read the entire post here: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/how-does-root-depth-affect-the-nearby-soil  

Follow SSSA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSA.soils, Twitter at SSSA_Soils. SSSA has soils information on www.soils.org/discover-soils, for teachers at www.soils4teachers.org, and for students through 12th grade, www.soils4kids.org.

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