Restricted Roots Caused by Sidewall Compaction
RL (Bob) Nielsen, Purdue Agronomy
Tillage or planting of fields whose soils are “on the wet side” is likely to create shallow tillage compaction or furrow sidewall compaction that can easily restrict the initial root development of young corn plants. Symptoms of such symptoms caused by soil compaction included roots restricted to shallow soil layers or rooting patterns that resemble “pancakes” or “tomahawks” due to the impedance to root development caused by the compacted soil. Individual roots often flatten out in response to their attempts to elongate through very narrow cracks in compacted soils. Severe restriction of root development increases the vulnerability of the crop to later developing drought conditions.