Weaver – Root Developments of Vegetable Crops

By John E. Weaver
Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Nebraska
William E. Bruner
Instructor in Botany, University of Nebraska


“The plant is the most important agent in crop production. Soils, cultivation,
fertilizers, irrigation, and other factors, in a sense, are all more or less subsidiary.
Soils are modified by cultivation, by adding manure or other fertilizers, by drainage or
irrigation, and in other ways with the express purpose of changing the environment so
as to stimulate plants to increased productivity. Hence, it is not surprising that from
time immemorial extended observations and, later, experiments have been made upon
the aerial growth of crops under varying conditions. In fact an almost bewildering
array of literature has resulted. But quite the converse is true of the underground parts.
The root development of vegetable crops has received relatively little attention, and
indeed accurate information is rarely to be found. The roots of plants are the least
known, least understood, and least appreciated part of the plant. This is undoubtedly
due to the fact that they are effectually hidden from sight. Notwithstanding the
extreme difficulty and tediousness of laying the roots bare for study, it is not only
remarkable but also extremely unfortunate that such investigations have been so long