Journal of Arid Land


Effects of soil moisture on cotton root length density (total root length per unit soil volume) and yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch were studied through field experiments. The results indicate that spatial distributions of root length density of cotton under various water treatments were basically similar. Horizontally, both root length densities of cotton in wide and narrow rows were similar, and higher than that between mulches. Vertically, root length density of cotton decreased with increasing soil depth. The distribution of root length density is different under different irrigation treatments. In conditions of over-irrigation, the root length density of cotton between mulches would increase. However, it would decrease in both the wide rows and narrow rows. The mean root length density of cotton increased with increasing irrigation water. Water stress caused the root length density to in-crease in lower soil layers. There is a significant correlation between root length density and yields of cotton at the flower-boll and wadding stages. The regression between irrigation amount and yield of cotton can be expressed as y = 0.0026x2+18.015x24845 (R2 = 0.959). It showed that the irrigation volume of 3,464.4 m3/hm2 led to optimal root length density. The yield of cotton was 6,360 .8 kg/hm2 under that amount of irrigation.


drip irrigation under plastic mulch; soil moisture; cotton; root length density

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