Calibrating the impact of root orientation on root quantification using ground-penetrating radar

Li Guo, Yuan Wu, Jin Chen, Yasuhiro Hirano, Toko Tanikawa, Wentao Li, Xihong Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has provided a non-invasive means for field root investigation. However, the horizontal cross angle (x) of root orientation intersecting a survey line considerably impacts the amplitude area (A) reflected from a root and impairs the accuracy of GPR-based root quantification. Prediction of A(90°) (the value of A scanning at x = 90°) from multiple A(x) measurements could correct such impact. Previous method of A(90°) prediction focused on target roots at field point scale. The aim of this study is to develop a method to predict A(90°) at field plot scale. Methods: A(90°) was predicted by a pair of A(x) measured at two arbitrary scanning lines together with an estimated soil background amplitude area. Three independent datasets were employed to test the proposed method. The field experiment included radar data collected for six roots of Caragana microphylla in a sandy-clay soil at four cross angles (30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°). The sand box experiment included radar data for 12 dowels at 13 cross angles (0° to 180°, in 15° steps). The simulation experiment included A(x) of 46 simulated roots at 13 cross angles (0° to 180°, in 15° steps). Results: For all experiments, A(90°) was accurately estimated. Root orientation could also be determined. After correcting the impact of cross angle, the accuracy of root diameter estimation improved. Correlation coefficient between actual and estimated root diameters increased from 0.77 to 0.81, with RMSE declining from 9.53 to 7.05 mm. Conclusions: A method of correcting the influence of root orientation on root GPR signal at the field plot scale has been established. This method enhances root quantification using GPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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