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A Quantitative Study of the Subterranean Members of Three Field Grasses

Howard J. Dittmer
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 25, No. 9 (Nov., 1938), pp. 654-657
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2436917
Page Count: 4
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A Quantitative Study of the Subterranean Members of Three Field Grasses
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Abstract

A quantitative study was made of the roots and root hairs of oats, winter rye, and Kentucky bluegrass, based on samplings from fields under normal cultivation. Sample volumes of soil 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep (42 cubic inches) were removed by means of a cutting tube, and counts and measurements were made of the included plant parts. Assuming that their roots and root hairs were evenly distributed in the samples in upper soil levels, oats would expose a surface of 15 square inches per cubic inch of soil, rye 30, and bluegrass about 65 square inches. Considering the number of root hairs per cubic inch of soil, oats would have approximately 150,000, rye 300,000, and bluegrass about 1,000,000. From a practical viewpoint these measurements suggest that oats would be least efficient of the three grasses, winter rye intermediate, and Kentucky bluegrass far superior to either of the others in soil binding possibilities.

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