Journal Article

Electrical measurement of the absorption surfaces of tree roots by the earth impedance method: 1. Theory

Ludek Aubrecht, Zdenek Staněk and Jan Koller

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 9, pages 1105-1112
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/26.9.1105
Electrical measurement of the absorption surfaces of tree roots by the earth impedance method: 1. Theory

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Analysis of plant root systems is difficult under field conditions, especially root systems of adult trees, which are large and complex and include fine absorbing roots as well as conducting coarse roots. Although coarse roots can be visualized by several methods, there are technical difficulties with root quantification. The method presented here focuses on the quantification of absorbing root surfaces through an electrical (the modified earth impedance) method. It is based on the experimentally verified fact that an applied electric current flows from the roots to the soil (or vice versa) through the same interfacial areas and predominantly in the same way as water (water solution of minerals or nutrients) flows from the soil to the tree. Based on the different conductivities of tree tissues and soil, the interfacial area, which represents the absorbing root surfaces (or root absorption zones), can be calculated. Only the theoretical description of the method is presented in this paper: the experimental verification of the method under field conditions is presented in the accompanying paper.

Keywords: absorbing root surfaces; absorption zones; electrical resistivity and conductivity; four-point method

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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