Vegetation growth

Teresa Sauras, Núria Roca
Plant Physiology Division, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Biology Faculty, University of Barcelona

Sara Cabrero, Anna Rigol, Miquel Vidal
Analytical Chemistry Division, Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Chemistry, Chemistry Faculty, University of Barcelona


Urban soils are emerging ecosystems that offer the chance to create new natural spaces in cities. However, these soils often have low environmental quality, and actions need to be taken to restore the functions of the soil, such as supplying them with water and nutrients. A rhizotron is a test or a container used to grow a plant, with one transparent side that allows you to see the growth of the roots, thus making observation and restoration actions easier.


Make a rhizotron to assess the improved plant growth in urban soils where you have applied biochar (see the Biochar formula).
Measure the growth of the part above the soil, estimating the leaf area index (LAI) and the growth of the roots (see the LAI formula).


  • Rectangular and opaque container large enough to grow a plant in
  • Rigid sheet of transparent plastic
  • Plastic sheeting to cover the rigid sheet of plastic
  • Insulating tape and polyurethane glue
  • Soil
  • Plant
  • Biochar
  • Permanent markers
  • String
  • Ruler

Steps to follow


CUT one of the sides of the container and replace the original wall with the transparent sheet, attaching it with clue and insulating tape if needed.


PREPARE the soil-biochar mix (see the Biochar recipe).


PLANT a plant (a sunflower is a good option).


PLACE the rhizotron vertically at a 30o angle to make it easier to see the roots.


KEEP the transparent wall in the dark by using the opaque plastic sheeting when you are not observing it.


MONITOR the growth of the roots each week (for 1 to 2 months) using the transparent wall of the rhizotron.


TRACE the growth of the roots with a marker, measuring the length with the help of some string if needed.


USE a different colour marker each week, writing down the date and taking photos.


MONITOR the growth of the part of the plant above the soil each week (for 1 to 2 months), in both rhizotrons, measuring the height and width of the plant.


ESTIMATE the leaf area index (LAI), counting the number of leaves as new ones appear (see the LAI recipe).


COMPARE the data between vegetation growth in the urban soil and vegetation growth in the soil-biochar mix.


Les teves dades s'han enviat correctament.

Moltes gràcies!

Formulari incorrecte, revisa els camps en vermell


DD/MM/AAAA / with biochar

DD/MM/AAAA / without biochar

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies