Mapping the root system of matured trees using ground penetrating radar

Alani, A. M., Ciampoli, L. Bianchini, Lantini, L., Tosti, F. and Benedetto, A. (2018) Mapping the root system of matured trees using ground penetrating radar. In: 17th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar; 18 - 21 Jun 2018, Rapperswil, Switzerland.


This study reports a demonstration of the ground penetrating radar (GPR) potential in health monitoring of tree roots. The main aim of the research was to provide effective and high-resolution mapping of tree root systems. To this purpose, a dedicated data processing methodology, based on two main chronological stages, was developed. First, an algorithm was proposed to filter out the data from noise-related information and to enhance deep reflections from attenuated targets. At a later stage, a multi-step algorithm connecting the identified targets (i.e. the vertices of the reflection hyperbolas) in a three-dimensional environment was created. To demonstrate the viability of the proposed methodology, the soils around two different tree species (i.e. fir and oak trees) were investigated using a ground-coupled multi-frequency GPR system equipped with 600 MHz and 1600 MHz central frequency antennas. The method has allowed to identify distinctive features in terms of shallow (i.e. within the first 25 cm from the soil surface) and deep (i.e. lower than 25 cm from the soil surface) tree root systems for different species of trees.

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