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The effect of acid rain on root systems has not been adequately studied. This study examined the effect of simulated acid rain on the root systems of a common tropical vine. Cuttings (10 cm) of Scindapsus aureus were grown for 7 weeks without soil in deionized water in which the pH was adjusted with sulfuric acid to 2.25, 3.26, 4.4, 5.5, and 6.5 (no acid added). Tap water (pH=8.1) was also examined. Root number and total root length were measured at baseline and after 7 weeks. Stock water at the initial pH was used to maintain the water level weekly. There were no differences in either root number or root length in any of plants in pH 4.4 or greater. Plants at the two lowest pH settings did not produce significant roots. Healthy plants (pH≥4.4) acidified the water’s pH in which they were growing to 4.4-5.4. The pH of plants in more acidic pH remained unchanged. Some roots prefer a more acidic pH. If this is characteristic is widespread, the effect of acid rain on plant root systems may be less severe than anticipated.
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