Several techniques have been used to study root growth and pathogen movement along roots between trees, including profile walls, micro-rhizotrons, and soil cores. These assessments can be very time consuming, cost prohibitive, and ineffective when studying soilborne pathogen movement across overlapping roots between adjacent trees in an orchard. Three aboveground rhizotrons were designed and constructed to study the movement of Phymatotrichopsis omnivora (Duggar) Hennebert (syn. Phymatotrichum omnivorum Duggar) along overlapping apple roots [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf. (syn. M. domestica Borkh. non Poir.)] in simulated orchard conditions. Two experiments involved boxes using either observation windows or micro-rhizotron observation tubes between trees. A third experiment utilized 45-gallon containers (171,457 cm3) joined by innovative observation windows. The container rhizotrons reduced labor and material costs, were more effective at monitoring roots, were more convenient than field measurements, and more closely simulated orchard growing conditions. This method provides several advantages to better study and manipulate the rooting environment of orchard-grown trees.
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