Root Scans to Document Fertilizer Response

Root response to fertilizer source and placement were documented with rhizotron scanners


Brigham Young University-Idaho is primarily a teaching university, with some research to support teaching efforts. In the Department of Agribusiness, Plant and Animal Science, the crop physiology class has used rhizotron boxes to monitor root growth for different crops. As part of this rhizotron work, the class has developed several treatments to see the effect of root growth on fertilizer types (N vs. P vs. K), fertilizer placement, drought, and compaction. Read more

Year of initiation:2010
Year of completion:2012

Interpretive Summary

A growth chamber rhizotron project was designed to demonstrate the influence of plant nutrients on root growth using time-lapse videos. A secondary goal was to develop a teaching tool that could be shared with other educational institutions for classroom demonstration of root development. The rhizotron project continues to be a laboratory experience for a crop physiology class and is currently in its 7th semester (approx. 100 students have been involved).

The rhizotron project was initiated to visually examine the response of roots to fertilizer management with two main objectives: (1) in situ classroom demonstration of root growth as influenced by nutrients and (b) creating time-lapse videos of root growth for posting on the internet for wide spread distribution.

This rhizotron project to monitor root growth in soil was initiated with two objectives. The first was to develop educational tools with in situ demonstrations of root growth as influenced by nutrients. The second objective was to create still images and videos of root growth that could be posted on the internet. Root systems of growing plants are observed with a flat-bed scanner buried in the soil as part of a laboratory experience for a crop physiology class.

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Updates & Reports


Project Description

Project Leader

Jared Williams, Brigham Young University

Project Cooperators

Kevin Anderson
Blake Willis

IPNI Staff

R. Mikkelsen


Americas \ Northern America \ USA \ Idaho


4r place, 4r source, education

alfalfa, soybean, sugarbeet

Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K)