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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (7): 811-823    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0023-y
Research article     
Characteristics of root pullout resistance of Caragana korshinskii Kom. in the loess area of northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China
LIU Yabin1,2,*(), SHI Chuan1, YU Dongmei3,4, WANG Shu1, PANG Jinghao1, ZHU Haili1,2, LI Guorong1,2, HU Xiasong1,2,*()
1Department of Geological Engineering, Qinghai University, Xining 810016, China
2Key Laboratory of Genozoic Resource & Environment in North Margin of the Tibetan Plateau, Xining 810016, China
3Key Laboratory of Comprehensive and Highly Efficient Utilization of Salt Lake Resources, Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, China
4Qinghai Provincial Key Laboratory of Geology and Environment of Salt Lakes, Xining 810008, China
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Roots exert pullout resistance under pullout force, allowing plants to resist uprooting. However, the pullout resistance characteristics of taproot-type shrub species of different ages remain unclear. In this study, in order to improve our knowledge of pullout resistance characteristics of taproot systems of shrub species, we selected the shrub species Caragana korshinskii Kom. in different growth periods as the research plant and conducted in situ root pullout test. The relationships among the maximum pullout resistance, peak root displacement, shrub growth period, and aboveground growth indices (plant height and plant crown breadth) were analyzed, as well as the mechanical process of uprooting. Pullout resistance of 4-15 year-old C. korshinskii ranged from 2.49 (±0.25) to 14.71 (±4.96) kN, and the peak displacement ranged from 11.77 (±8.61) to 26.50 (±16.09) cm. The maximum pullout resistance and the peak displacement of roots increased as a power function (R2=0.9038) and a linear function (R2=0.8242) with increasing age, respectively. The maximum pullout resistance and the peak displacement increased with increasing plant height; however, this relationship was not significant. The maximum pullout resistance increased exponentially (R2=0.5522) as the crown breadth increased. There was no significant relationship between the peak displacement and crown breadth. The pullout resistance and displacement curve were divided into three stages: the initial nonlinear growth, linear growth, and nonlinear stages. Two modes of failure of a single root occurred when the roots were subjected to vertical loading forces: the synchronous breakage mode and the periderm preferential breakage mode. These findings provide a foundation for further investigation of the soil reinforcement and slope protection mechanisms of this shrub species in the loess area of northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China.

Key wordsloess area      Qinghai-Tibet Plateau      pullout resistance      growth period      aboveground growth indices      pullout test      Caragana korshinskii     
Received: 30 March 2022      Published: 31 July 2022
Corresponding Authors: * LIU Yabin (E-mail:;HU Xiasong (E-mail:
Cite this article:

LIU Yabin, SHI Chuan, YU Dongmei, WANG Shu, PANG Jinghao, ZHU Haili, LI Guorong, HU Xiasong. Characteristics of root pullout resistance of Caragana korshinskii Kom. in the loess area of northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(7): 811-823.

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Fig. 1 (a), study site in the Dayou Mountains in the northern Xining City, China; (b), Caragana korshinskii.
Depth (cm) Dry density (g/cm3) Moisture content (%) Liquid
limit (%)
limit (%)
Grain composition (%) Non-uniform coefficient Soil type
0.075 mm
0.005 mm
<0.005 mm
0-30 1.28±0.10 18.61±4.10 24.08±0.66 17.34±0.38 35.16±16.04 61.88±14.76 2.97±2.12 4.73±2.58 Silt
Table 1 Soil physical properties in the study site
Fig. 2 Schematic diagram of the instrument for in situ pullout test
Age (a) Plant height (cm) Plant crown breadth (cm) Sample number
4 236.00±36.11b 223.50±35.52c 5
5 235.00±47.64b 211.50±5.83c 5
6 237.10±29.01b 232.14±34.32c 7
7 269.17±72.88ab 260.00±23.76bc 6
9 281.33±34.09ab 273.75±28.05b 6
12 304.40±34.46a 280.50±21.30ab 5
15 321.75±46.88a 309.69±30.88a 8
Table 2 Sample numbers and aboveground growth indices of C. korshinskii
|r|<0.3 0.3≤|r|≤0.5 0.5≤|r|≤0.8 |r|≥0.8
Weak correlation Low correlation Moderate correlation High correlation
Table 3 Classification of correlation strength during correlation analysis
Fig. 3 Relationships of the maximum root pullout resistance (a) and peak displacement (b) with growth period of C. korshinskii. Different lowercase letters indicate significant different among different plant growth periods at P<0.05 level.
Fig. 4 Relationships of the maximum root pullout resistance (a) and peak displacement (b) with height of C. korshinskii
Fig. 5 Relationships of the maximum root pullout resistance (a) and peak displacement (b) with crown breath of C. korshinskii
Fig. 6 Relationship between height and crown breadth of C. korshinskii
Fig. 7 Characteristics of pullout resistance and displacement curves of C. korshinskii (a-c), and typical failure modes of a single root of C. korshinskii (d). (a), Curve I; (b), Curve II; (c), Curve III.
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