Measuring plant root traits under controlled and field conditions: Step-by-step procedures

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In this chapter, we present methods that we routinely use to measure plant root traits in the field and under controlled environmental conditions (using rhizoboxes). We describe procedures to (1) collect, wash, and store root samples, (2) acquire images of washed root samples, and (3) measure root traits using image analysis. In addition, we also describe sampling methods for studying belowground productivity, soil exploration, and root distribution in the first soil layers at the community level (soil coring and ingrowth core method). Because the use of rhizoboxes allows a nondestructive and dynamic measurement of traits hardly accessible in the field, a section of this chapter is devoted to the acquisition and analysis of images of roots growing in rhizoboxes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoot Development : Methods and Protocols
EditorsDaniela Ristova, Elke Barbez
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherHumana Press
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-1-4939-7746-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4939-7747-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Image analysis, Ingrowth core method, Phenotyping, Rhizobox, Root staining, Root traits, Root washing, Soil coring
  • Ecosystems Research