Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Plant Physiology, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Oct., 1929), pp. 435-457. Copyright 1929 American Society of Plant Biologists. Used by permission.


Relatively few investigations have been made to determine the factors which affect the relation of the growth of roots to tops. A more exact knowledge of the relations between aerial and subterranean plant parts and the degree to which these may be modified through cultural practices is of great scientific and practical importance. Extensive investigations have shown that plants exhibit marked specific and varietal differences with respect to relative development of roots when grown under the same environmental conditions. Intensive studies on the growth of wheat by Weaver, Kramer, and Reed (20) and of certain other plants by Crist and Stout (3) have also made clear that there is a persistent tendency towards a positive correlation between roots and shoots, increase in size of tops being accompanied by increase in size of roots. Although significant variations in the relative distribution of the growth rate of tops and roots occur in nature and may readily be induced by change in environment, the fact remains that there is a persistent positive correlation in size of tops and roots regardless of the wide variations induced by special conditions.