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Keywords:

  • Drought;
  • Lolium perenne;
  • lateral roots;
  • root cortex;
  • root hairs

Summary

Three experiments using soil-grown Lolium perenne plants were performed in order to investigate the effects of a gradually increasing drought stress on the death of root cells and the growth of lateral roots. Water potentials of -2 to -10 MPa caused death of the root cortex, but death of root tips occurred only at soil water potentials below -10 MPa. Low soil water potentials promoted lateral root initiation and elongation, the total length of lateral roots being between three and five times that of control plants. On rewetting severely droughted plants, root growth continued by elongation of existing, previously initiated, lateral roots.