Root-shoot ratio of maize (Zea mays L.) as influenced by different levels of water deficit under two different climatic conditions

Mardin Othman1 & Aram Abbas Mohammed2

1 Sulaimani Agricultural Institute, University of Polytechnic,  Kurdistan Region, Iraq

2 Crop Science Department, College of Agricultural Sciences,University of Sulaimani Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Original: 01/11/2017, Revised: 07/01/2018, Accepted: 06/02/2018, Published online:

DOI Link: https://doi.org/10.17656/jzs.10655


In order to determine the effect of water stress on  biomass accumulation of root and shoot,  and their ratio of two maize hybrids (Zea mays L.) under the effect of three different irrigation levels, two different field experiments  were conducted in a silty clay soil during the autumn season of 2014 and spring season of 2015 at the Agricultural research station of Qlyasan – University of Sulaimani. A split plot design with three replications were used. Three different levels of  irrigation were applied, I1 represented the water requirements of the two hybrids along the growing season from seedling to physiological maturity, I2 breaking one irrigation after each two irrigation during the vegetative growing season only, but I3 applied with breaking one  irrigation after each two irrigations during the vegetative and reproductive growing season till physiological maturity. Effect of water deficit levels on the growth and development of root and shoot as well as the root-shoot ratio were determined. The root-shoot ratio of the two hybrids was increased with the extended growing period  through the growing seasons. The effect of I3 level of maize root- shoot ratio was greater in comparison to I1 and I2. There were differences in response of H1 and  H2 to irrigation levels, the ratio of root to shoot for the  H2 was greater than H1 in both seasons.

  Key Words: Water deficit, irrigation levels, root-shoot ratio, root and shoot growth


[1] Kuşçu H. & Demir A.O. (2012) Responses of Maize to Full and Limited Irrigation at Different Plant Growth Stages. Uludağ Üniversitesi Ziraat Fakültesi Dergisi.

[2]  Mohammadai H., Soleymani A. & Shams M. (2012) evaluation of Drought Stress Effects on Yield Components and Seed Yield of Three Maize Cultivars (Zea mays L.) in Isfahan region. International Journal of Agriculture and Crop Sciences 4, 1436-9.

[3] Benjamin  J. G. , D. C. Nielsen, M. F. Vigil, M. M. Mikha, F. Calderon.2014. Water Deficit Stress Effects on Corn (Zea mays, L.) Root:Shoot Ratio, Open Journal of Soil Science, 4, 151-160..

[4] Musa Y.M.A. (2015) Response of Two Maize (Zea mays L.) Cultivars to Water Stress at Different Growth Stages. UOFK.

[5] Allmaras, R.R. and Nelson, W.W. (1971) Corn (Zea mays L.) Root Configuration as Influenced by Some Row-Interrow Variants of Tillage and Straw Much Management. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 35, 974-980.

[6] Hakeem A., Liu Y., Xie L., Ata-Ul-Karim S.T., Samiullah S. & Huang J. (2016) Comparative effects of alternate partial root-zone drying and conventional deficit irrigation on growth and yield of field grown maize (Zea mays L.) hybrid. Journal of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences 6, 23-32.

 [7] Anderson E. (1988) Tillage and N fertilization effects on maize root growth and root: shoot ratio. Plant and Soil 108, 245-51.

 [8] Creelman R.A., Mason H.S., Bensen R.J., Boyer J.S. & Mullet J.E. (1990) Water deficit and abscisic acid cause differential inhibition of shoot versus root growth in soybean seedlings analysis of growth, sugar accumulation, and gene expression. Plant Physiology 92, 205-14.

[9] Rajcan I. & Tollenaar M. (1999) Source: sink ratio and leaf senescence in maize:: I. Dry matter accumulation and partitioning during grain filling. Field Crops Research 60, 245-53.

[10] Karlen D., Flannery R. & Sadler E. (1987) Fertilizer use efficiency: Nutrient and dry matter accumulation rates for high yielding maize. Journal of plant nutrition 10, 1409-17.

[11] Jones H.G. 1999. Plants and Microclimate. A quantitative approach to environmental plant physiology, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press.

[12] Masri B. & Boote K. (1988) Effects of water stress on leaf area index, crop growth rate and dry matter accumulation of field grown corn and soybean. MARDI Research Journal 16, 57-61.

[13] Umar U.U.  , S.G. Ado, D.A. Aba, and S.M. Bugaje.2014. Estimates of Combining Ability and Gene Action in Maize ( Zea  mays L.) Under Water Stress and Non-stress Conditions. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare, Vol.4 No.25

[14] Kim S.G., Lee J.-S., Kim J.-T., Kwon Y.S., Bae D.-W., Bae H.H., Son B.-Y., Baek S.-B., Kwon Y.-U. & Woo M.-O. (2015) Physiological and proteomic analysis of the response to drought stress in an inbred Korean maize line. Plant Omics 8, 159.

[15] Ao S. (2014) Physiological Basis of Corn Response to Drought Stress and Nitrogen Supply.

[16] Farooq M., Hussain M., Wahid A. & Siddique K. (2012) Drought stress in plants: an overview. In: Plant Responses to Drought Stress (pp. 1-33. Springer.

[17] Mengel D. 1995. Roots, Growth and nutrient up-take. AGRY 95-08Agronomy,  Dept.Purdu Univ. 47907-1150.

[18] Cakir, R.  2004. Effect of water stress at different development stages on vegetative and reproductive growth of corn. Field Crops Research 89 (2004) 1–16

[19] Ghooshchi, F.  M. Seilsepour and P.  Jafari. 2008.  Effects of Water Stress on Yield and Some   Agronomic Traits of Maiz [SC 301]. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 4 (3): 302-305.

[20] Khaliq T. , N. Hussain, A. Ali,  A. Ullah, M. Ahmad, and  A. Ahmad.2016. Quantification of Root-Shoot Development and Water Use Efficiency in Autumn Maize (Zea mays L) Under Different Irrigation Strategies,  Journal of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences, Vol.6 p16-22

[21] Edmeades G. & Bänziger M. (1996) Conclusions: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go? Drought-and Low N-Tolerant Maize, 557.

[22] Khan, M.A., N.U. Khan, K. Ahmad, M.S. Bloch and M.Sadi.1999. . Yield of maize hybrid-3335 as affected by NP level, Pak. J. Biol. Sci., 2(3): 857-859.

[23] Amos, B. and Walters, D.T. (2006) Maize Root Biomass and Net Rhizodeposited Carbon: An Analysis of the Litera-ture. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 70, 1489-1503.

[24] Sharp R. & Davies W. (1979) Solute regulation and growth by roots and shoots of water-stressed maize plants. Planta 147, 43-9.

[25] Chaves M.M., Pereira J.S., Maroco J., Rodrigues M.L., Ricardo C.P.P., Osório M.L., Carvalho I., Faria T. & Pinheiro C. (2002) How plants cope with water stress in the field? Photosynthesis and growth. Annals of botany 89, 907-16.

[26] Fageria, N.K. 1992. Maximizing crop yields. Marcel Dekker,NY, USA.

[27] Nejad T. S., A. Bakhshande, S. B.Nasab, Khoshnaz P .2010. Effect of drought stress on corn root growth. Report and Opinion (2), 2.

[28] Amanullahi and  B.A. Stewart2.2013. Shoot:root Differs in   Warm season C4-Cerials When grown  alone in pure  and  Mixed stands Under low and high Water levels. Pak. J. Bot., 45(S1): 83-90,

[29] Eghball, B. and J.W. Maranville. 1993. Root development and nitrogen influx of corn genotypes grown under combined drought and nitrogen stresses. Agron. J., 85: 147-152.

[30] Reynolds H. L., and C. D'Antonio.1996. The ecological significance of plasticity in root weight ratio in response to nitrogen , Plant and Soil  Vol. 185, Issue 1, pp 75–97

 [31] Rezaeieh K.A. & Eivazi A. (2011) Evaluation of morphological characteristics in five Persian maize (Zea mays L.) under drought stress. Afr. J. Agric. Res 6, 4409-11.