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Root dynamics in a salt marsh over three consecutive years

W. Steinke, D.J. von Willert and F.A. Austenfeld
Plant and Soil
Vol. 185, No. 2, Selected Papers of a Meeting on ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAS IN SUSTAINABLE SOIL-PLANT SYSTEMS (1996), pp. 265-269
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42947828
Page Count: 5
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Root dynamics in a salt marsh over three consecutive years
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Abstract

The minirhizotron technique has been used to study root development in a salt marsh in the western part of the "Nationalpark Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer" during a three-year period. The objective of our study was to evaluate root depth distribution and seasonal changes in growth activities of natural plant root systems. Root number was counted at monthly intervals in the top soil layer (0-0.2 m) for every 2 cm soil depth. The number of roots was regarded as an easily detectable parameter reflecting root growth and decay. In general, highest rooting intensity was found in the soil's subsurface layer (0-0.08 m). The number of roots significantly decreased in deeper horizons of the soil. There was also a significant increase and decrease in the number of roots in the course of a year. The highest rooting intensity was found in late winter to early spring, which substantially decreased towards mid summer when the plants were in their reproductive phase. The data indicate that there is a clear seasonal pattern of root growth of salt marsh species.

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