An above ground screening method to study cucumber root growth was developed using the herb icicle banding technique of Robertson et al. (Crop Sci 25:1084, 1985). Those roots that grow deeper or faster, sooner reach the herbicide, and sooner exhibit herbicide damage symptoms. Greenhouse pot trials showed that 1/4-1/2 lb/A atrazine could be used to produce distinctive symptoms, differentiate between depths of banding, and among different genotypes. Based on root washing experiments of a few cultivars, root length and/or mass correlated with herbicide symptom expression. One hundred diverse cucumber genotypes were tested in the greenhouse. Time to symptom expression was normally distributed among the genotypes; analysis of variance indicated significant genotypic differences. The herbicide banding technique was also useful for monitoring cucumber root growth in the field. Response time and severity varied with herbicide concentration, depth, and distance from the seed row. The diverse cucumber genotypes are now being tested in the field to further determine if there are significant genotypic differences and to compare greenhouse and field behavior.
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