Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilisation Influences Growth, Rhizosphere Carboxylate Exudation and Mycorrhizal Colonisation in Temperate Perennial Pasture Grasses

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Abstract

Optimisation of potassium (K) use efficiency in pastures on sandy soil is challenging. We characterised growth response, root carboxylate exudation and mycorrhizal colonisation in three perennial pasture grasses: tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.), veldt grass (Ehrharta calycina Sm.) and tall wheatgrass (Thinopyrum ponticum L.) in two glasshouse experiments with: (1) four K rates (0, 40, 80 and 120 mg K kg‒1 soil), and (2) four N and K treatments (no N and K (–N–K), 81 mg N kg‒1 soil but no K, 80 mg K kg‒1 soil but no N, and N at 81 and K at 80 mg kg‒1 soil (+N+K)) in low-K sandy soil. Veldt grass had the highest shoot dry weight and shoot P content, but the lowest mycorrhizal colonisation. Potassium fertilisation had no significant impact on exudation of citrate and oxalate. The K0 plants had significantly lower exudation of acetate and total carboxylates than K40 plants. The +N+K plants had maximum shoot growth at both harvests (30 and 60 days after sowing (DAS)) and highest N and K shoot contents at 60 DAS. The –N–K plants exuded maximum amounts of citrate and malate at 30 DAS, but at 60 DAS tall fescue had the highest rhizosphere concentrations of citrate and malate in the +N+K treatment. At 60 DAS, mycorrhizal colonisation was significantly lower with than without N and K fertilisation. We concluded that pasture grasses could yield well even in inherently low-K soil without external K fertilisation and mycorrhizal symbiosis. However, the +N+K plants had the highest yield and root carboxylate exudation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1878
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAgronomy
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020

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