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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 563: International Conference on Environmental Problems Associated with Nitrogen Fertilisation of Field Grown Vegetable Crops

ROOT GROWTH AND SOIL NITROGEN DEPLETION BY ONION, LETTUCE, EARLY CABBAGE AND CARROT

Author:   K. Thorup-Kristensen
Keywords:   Green manure, soil nitrogen, rooting depth, root growth rate, vetch, rye, ryegrass
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2001.563.25
Abstract:
Experiments examining root growth, the utilization of N and the effect of green manures were carried out on four vegetable crops. Large differences were observed both in rooting depth penetration rates, and in final rooting depth and distribution. Onion had a very low depth penetration rate, carrot an intermediate rate, and lettuce and cabbage showed high rates. A combination of depth penetration rates and duration of growth determined rooting depth at harvest. Therefore, lettuce, which had a very short growing season, had a shallow root system at harvest, whereas carrot with a lower depth penetration rate but a long growing season had deep rooting at harvest. The final rooting depth of the vegetables varied from approximately 0.3 m for onion to more than 1.0 m for carrot and early cabbage. Carrot and cabbage were able to utilize N from deeper soil layers, not available to onion and lettuce. The ability of green manure crops to concentrate available N in the upper soil layers was especially valuable when they were grown before the two shallow rooted crops.

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