In the production of float tobacco transplants, the seedling produces at least two different kinds of roots. The “media” roots are those that grow in the soilless medium within the float tray cell. They have a normal branched appearance similar to roots produced on soil-bed grown transplants. The “water” roots grow through the soilless medium in tray cells and into the nutrient solution below the float tray. They tend to be very fragile and less branched than roots growing in the soilless medium. In removal of seedlings from tray cells during transplanting, “water” roots are usually badly damaged or destroyed, which could affect establishment of transplants in the field since the most critical period in the development of tobacco plants occurs immediately after transplanting. When these young plants are removed from the protective environment of the float bed system and are subjected to radically different and sometimes adverse field conditions, stress on the juvenile plants is created. Field establishment of these young plants is dependent upon growth or new formation of the “media” and “water” roots.

To maximize establishment of transplants, it is important to know how the ''water" roots and the "media" roots develop in the float system and their contribution to transplant establishment during the first few weeks after transplanting. The objectives of this study were: 1) to characterize the growth of "media" and ''water" roots on tobacco seedlings in the float system, and 2) to assess tobacco transplant growth with or without ''water'' roots, at two and four weeks after transplanting.

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