A non-destructive stain technique for investigating root growth dynamics.

Published online
01 Jan 1983
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Carman, J. G.

Publication language


A non-destructive stain technique for quantifying root growth was developed. Red, blue and yellow chlorotriazinyl dyes are individually applied as a soil drench at 3 infrequent intervals. The dye is leached from the rooting medium after a brief exposure. At the end of the growth period the roots are washed and increments of root growth are differentiated by colour. The technique was developed by growing seedlings of Sorghum bicolor in sand and determining the effect of different staining procedures on subsequent plant growth. Procedures which permitted normal growth were identified. Seminal and adventitious root length and dry wt. of shoots and roots did not differ significantly (P less than or equal to 0.05) between stained and non-stained plants. Whilst application of this technique is generally limited to plants grown in porous media, the technique can be used to quantify root growth parameters which cannot be quatified by destructive methods.

Key words