A healthy root system is an important objective in crop production. Healthy roots make the plant grow quickly and evenly for high quality; they reduce the risk of water deficit during droughts and they increase the plant's resiliance in the face of injury to the shoots. Furthermore, much of the dry matter produced in the shoot is used to maintain the roots. Healthy roots take less maintenance and replacement, allowing more dry matter to go to the harvested portion of the crop.
Many production practices are used to promote healthy roots. There are three objectives that must be met:
Some production practices advance all three objectives.
- Cover crops and compost improve particle aggregation to make the soil more yielding abd better aerated. They suppress many soil diseases, insects and nematodes, and favor beneficial organisms.
- Rotations that include sods reduce compaction, generate large amounts of organic matter and allow earthworms to grow. They also increase the interval between crops suceptible to host-specific diseases so that the incoulum is brought down.
- Tillage only when the soil is friable and restricting traffic in the field maintains soil structure, prevents conditions that favor diseases and limits the disturbance of the beneficial flora.
Other production practices are focused particularly on one objective:
- Reduced tillage preserves soil structure and organic matter.
- Crop rotation breaks the life cycle of disease organisms.
- Inoculating with beneficial organisms such as nitrogen fixing bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi or biocontrol organisms like Trichoderma can establish such populations where effective strains are not present.
How does T-22 contribute to root health?
T-22 parasitizes certain disease-causing fungi, thereby reducing the amount of root rot. T-22 also appears to create an environment at the root surface with less oxidatve stress. The roots can therfore spend more energy on growing and taking up water and nutrients.