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

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


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.

Publisher's Statement

© 1983 Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02197719

Publication Title

Plant and Soil