A plant's roots are crucial in several ways for the development of a sturdy and vital plant. A plant root system's task is in fact multi-faceted – naturally, it handles water uptake, but the roots also provide a firm anchor in the substrate. In addition to that, the root system generally serves as a storage organ, and creates substrate conditions in which beneficial micro-organisms thrive.
Young and growing roots facilitate nutrient absorption from the soil. For example, absorption of phosphate and trace elements is highly dependent on the surface area of the side and root hairs, and the number of young root tips is a determining factor for calcium, boron and silicon uptake.
The crop is particularly vulnerable at the start of a crop, when the young seedling or freshly planted plant has not yet rooted well. Unfavourable growing conditions such as cold, drought or excessive rainfall can seriously damage young plants in the early stage of a crop. And then, non-uniform emergence of the plants requires a lot of remedial crop management to prevent loss during the rest of the cultivation period.
This makes it so important to get the young crop as quickly as possible through this vulnerable period at the start of cultivation. Fulvine, humic acids and seaweed extracts, to name but a few are frequently used to stimulate crop root growth, but we often hear that growers and advisers find it difficult to see the wood for the trees, because there is such extensive proliferation of products. This is why Soiltech developed Optima Root.
Optima Root is a powerful root stimulator based on humines, fulvic acids, seaweed extract and amino acids, vitamins and other organic root-development stimulating components.
We regularly have tests carried out in various crops, to demonstrate the effect of Optima Root in practice. We have already seen very good results in various types of cultivation, including strawberry growing, tree nursery and greenhouse horticulture. Soiltech recently commissioned research on root development during an ongoing leek trial. Assessment of the leek plants' root growth was facilitated by setting up a 'profile pit' (see figure 1).
Figure 1: Assessment of the leek plants' root growth (Research commissioned by Soiltech and carried out by Proefcentrum voor de Groenteteelt, Kruishoutem – Belgium).
The primary visual assessment already showed that more roots had developed in the ridge with an application of Optima Root. Applying a grid in the profile pit made it possible to determine accurately the root volume per row and column (on a scale from 1 [no roots] to 9 [abundance of roots]). This analysis substantiates the visual observation that more roots develop with an application of Optima Root. And the roots on the plants treated with Optima Root were found to be more vital too.
If you would like to know more about Optima Root, please contact your cultivation advisor or visit our website.