Calibration of minirhizotron readings against root length density data obtained from soil cores

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The minirhiozotron (MR) root observation method was studied versus root length density (RLD) obtained from soil cores. Two plant species, acacia (Acacia saligna) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were grown in a 1-m3 container on Silt Loam (Typic Torrifluvent) and on fine dune sand (Typic Torripsamment), respectively. Roots of both plants were measured periodically by the two methods. The MR observation tubes (MROT) were inserted, either vertically or at 45°. The correlation between the number of roots obtained by the MR and RLD was significant for the entire profile. However, an appreciable error in root estimation by the MR root observation method at the upper 10-cm soil might occur. No significant difference was obtained from MROT oriented vertically or at 45°. The differences between the correlation coefficients of the two methods were not significant, for both plants and soils, indicating that this correlation expresses the geometry of the two measurement systems, not affected by plant or soil types. We concluded that the MR method may be used as an in situ, non-destructive root measuring method with reasonable confidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-208
Number of pages8
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • Acacia (Acacia saligna)
  • Insertion angle
  • Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)


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