An empirical mathematical model to describe plant root systems.

Published online
01 Jan 1974
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Gerwitz, A. & Page, E. R.

Publication language


An empirical model used to standardize data on root investigations was P = 100 (1-e-fx) where P was the percentage of roots in x cm of soil, and f was a parameter such that 1/f was equal to the depth of soil which contained 63% of the total root mass. Effects of soil moisture, fertility, plant age, weight and species on f were considered; 71 out of 101 sets of data fitted the model very satisfactorily. The model was expected to be useful in constructing mathematical models to simulate plant growth. Data are provided on a range of crops, including peas, vetch, cotton, barley, wheat, oats, sorghum, maize, perennial ryegrass cv. S321, and Hyparrhenia rufa.

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