What is it about?

Root system distribution within the soil is a decisive factor for the resource (water and nutrients) capture and utilization. Along with @LarryMattYork, we explore the question how spatial and temporal distribution of fertilizers can be used to intentionally optimize the crop root architecture, using innate root plasticity, for improving water and nutrient uptake.

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Why is it important?

Rainfed agriculture constitutes more than 70% of cropland in the world and contributes more than 60% of grain production. These crop fields experience frequent events of intermittent drought due to climatic variabilities and uncertainties. Breeding for intermittent drought is most challenging. We proposed four ways by which smart nutrient application will improve crop health under drought: 1) overall plant vigor, 2) increased root allocation, 3) influence specific root traits, and 4) use smart placement and timing to encourage deep rooting.

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This page is a summary of: Can smart nutrient applications optimize the plant's hidden half to improve drought resistance?, Physiologia Plantarum, January 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/ppl.13332.
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