To understand how auxin regulates root growth, we quantified cell division and elemental elongation, and examined actin organization in the primary root of Arabidopsis thaliana. In treatments for 48 h that inhibited root elongation rate by 50%, we find that auxins and auxin-transport inhibitors can be divided into two classes based on their effects on cell division, elongation and actin organization. Indole acetic acid (IAA), 1-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and tri-iodobenzoic acid (TIBA) inhibit root growth primarily through reducing the length of the growth zone rather than the maximal rate of elemental elongation and they do not reduce cell production rate. These three compounds have little effect on the extent of filamentous actin, as imaged in living cells or by chemical fixation and immuno-cytochemistry, but tend to increase actin bundling. In contrast, 2,4-dichlorophenoxy-acetic acid (2,4-D) and naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) inhibit root growth primarily by reducing cell production rate. These compounds remove actin and slow down cytoplasmic streaming, but do not lead to mislocalization of the auxin-efflux proteins, PIN1 or PIN2. The effects of 2,4-D and NPA were mimicked by the actin inhibitor, latrunculin B. The effects of these compounds on actin were also elicited by a 2 h treatment at higher concentration but were not seen in two mutants, eir1-1 and aux1-7, with deficient auxin transport. Our results show that IAA regulates the size of the root elongation zone whereas 2,4-D affects cell production and actin-dependent processes; and, further, that elemental elongation and localization of PINs are appreciably independent of actin.