Phillips, D.L., M.G. Johnson, D.T. Tingey, C. Biggart, R.S. Nowak, and J. Newsom. 2000. Minirhizotron installation in sandy, rocky soils with minimal soil disturbance. Soil Science Society of America Journal 64:761-764.
We developed and demonstrated the utility of a technique for installing Minirhizotron tubes in sandy, rocky soils where more traditional installation methods are inadequate. The method uses a pneumatic rock-drill alternately to drill and drive drill casings into the soil. Soil particles and drilling debris are removed from the casing as it is installed. The minirhizotron tube is inserted into the drill casing and the casing is withdrawn. A pneumatic screw-drive guide system powers the downward and upward movement of the rock-drill and controls the angle of installation. Working from a platform suspended from a center-pivot elevated catwalk minimized soil disturbance. Soil contact and root ingrowth around the minirhizotron tubes were very satisfactory. This method, while fairly labor intensive, allows minirhizotron studies of root dynamics in sandy, rocky soil where they would otherwise not be possible. Also, there is much less soil compaction and disturbance than traditional installation techniques entail.