Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Botanical Gazette, Vol. 96, No. 3 (March 1935), pp. 389-420. Copyright 1935 The University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


Although the root distribution of the chief grasses and forbs of tall-grass prairie has been known for 15 years (18), no studies on the relation of root distribution to the organic matter in the soil have been made. In fact, so far as the writers are aware, few studies of this type have been undertaken in America. SPRAGUE (15), working in New Jersey, has attempted to correlate root occupation of the several soil layers with their specific soil properties. The grasses, chiefly Kentucky bluegrass and Colonial bent grass, were grown on a formerly cultivated soil of the gray-brown forest soil group of the humid eastern states. Practically all of the roots were found in the upper 9 inches of soil, the abundance decreasing rapidly with depth. He found no correlation between root distribution and organic carbon content of the soil.