Alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., establishment in mine mill tailings - H. Root patterns of alfalfa in iron tailings and natural soils

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Alfalfa plant excavations were made in iron tailings and natural soil as a means to observe their root development between two contrasting substrates. In tailings, alfalfa roots concentrated heavily in strata of clay layers. In coarse-textured tailings without clay layers, roots concentrated more at the surface with few roots penetrating deep into the tailings. Similar root morphology was observed in natural soil excavations. Roots And N-fixing nodules were concentrated in fine-textured soil layers having better moisture-holding capaclity and mineral nutrient status than the coarser materials. Regardless of the kind of growing medium, tailings vs natural soils, roots concentrated where the growing environment is most favourable. © 1983 Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers.

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Plant and Soil