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Uptake of subsoil water below 2 m fails to alleviate drought response in deep-rooted Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.)

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Aims: Deep-rooted agricultural crops can potentially utilize deep soil moisture to reduce periods where growth is water limited. Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is a deep-rooted species, but the benefits of deep roots to water uptake has not been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the value of deep roots (>2 m) under topsoil water limitation. Methods: Chicory grown in 4 m deep soil-filled rhizotrons was exposed to either topsoil drought or resource competition from the shallow-rooted species ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and black medic (Medicago lupulina L.). The effect on deep water uptake was assessed using non-destructive measurements of roots, soil water and tracers. Results: Water uptake occurred below 1.7 m depth in 2016, and below 2.3 m depth in 2017 and contributed significantly to chicory water use. However, neither surface soil drying nor intercropping increased deep water uptake to relieve water deficit in the shoots. Conclusion: Chicory benefits from deep-roots during drought events, as it acceses deep soil moisture unavailable to more shallow rooted species, yet deep water uptake was unable to compensate for the reduced topsoil water uptake due to soil drying or crop competition.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPlant and Soil
Vol/bind446
Sider (fra-til)275–290
ISSN0032-079X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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