Understanding Root Systems to Improve Seedling Quality

in HortTechnology
Author: Silvana Nicola1
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  • 1 Dipartimento di Agronomia, Selvicoltura e Gestione del Territorio, Università di Torino, Via Leonardo da Vinci, 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy; e-mail: silvnic@tin.it.

Root architecture can be very important in plant productivity. The importance of studies on root morphology and development is discussed to improve seedling growth. Root systems of dicotyledonous species are reviewed, with emphasis on differences between growth of basal and lateral roots. The presence of different types of roots in plant species suggests possible differences in function as well. The architecture of a root system related to its functions is considered. Classical methods for studying root systems comprise excavation of root system, direct observation, and indirect analyses. While the first method is destructive and the third is effective in understanding root architecture only on a relatively gross scale, observation methods allow the scientist a complete a nondestructive architectural study of a root system. The three groups are reviewed related to their potential to give valuable information related to the root architecture and development of the seedling, with emphasis on the availability of a medium-transparent plant-growing system, enabling nondestructive daily observations and plant measurements under controlled environmental conditions. Effects of CO2 enrichment on seedling growth is reviewed, emphasizing the effects of CO2 on root growth.

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