Compaction can be a triggering factor for a process of soil degradation and formation of degraded areas. Understanding plant development in soils compacted is of fundamental importance, since they allow to identify species able to resist the limiting condition of the compaction, being able to be indicated to recover degraded areas that have compacted soils as limiting factor. The objective of this study was to evaluate the initial aerial and root growth of Erythrina velutina in soils subjected to different levels of compaction. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse located at UECIA/UFRN. A Yellow Latosol of Frankish-sandy texture, from an area of the Jundiaí Agricultural School, was used in pots formed by three overlapping polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rings, 10 cm in diameter and 25 cm in height, with the central ring being compacted. The experimental design was a randomized block design, with six replications, and four levels of soil compaction (1.35, 1.45, 1.60 and 1.80 kg dm-³) were tested, and the following variables: diameter, height, number of leaves, dry mass of shoot and root system in each layer of the columns. The physical impediment in subsurface altered the aerial growth of the seedlings of E. velutina being this reduction more expressive for the dry mass variable of the aerial part. In relation to the root system, E. velutina showed to be a susceptible species to the effects of soil compaction and morphological changes were observed in the roots in soils with a density greater than or equal to 1.45 kg dm-³.
Key words: Root system, soil density, soil management, recovery of degraded areas.
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