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Root proliferation in nutrient-rich soil patches is an important mechanism facilitating nutrient capture by plants. Although the phenomenon of root proliferation is well documented, the specific timing of this proliferation has not been investigated. We studied the timing and degree of root proliferation for three perennial species common to the Great Basin region of North America: a shrub, Artemisia tridentata, a native tussock grass, Agropyron spicaturn, and an introduced tussock grass, Agropyron desertorum. One day after we applied nutrient solution to small soil patches, the mean relative growth rate of Agropyron desertorurn roots in these soil patches was two to four times greater than for roots of the same...
Several recent studies demonstrate that yield of individual plants, and their allocation of biomass between roots and shoots, can be profoundly affected by the pattern of supply of soil-based resources. Patchy provision of soil-based resources can affect the location of root biomass, as roots often proliferate in nutrient-rich patches. Root system size is important in determining whether plants access nutrient-rich patches, and the proportion of root systems located within such patches. This proportion will alter as growth proceeds. Species with small root systems have a limited ability to place roots in nutrient-rich patches even when they are very close. Of four species with different root system sizes, the growth...

    map background search result map search result map The timing and degree of root proliferation in fertile-soil microsites for three cold-desert perennials