A glasshouse experiment using a rhizobox technique was conducted to examine salt dynamics in the rhizosphere of a salt-tolerant grass, Puccinellia ciliata Bor. 'Irwin Hunter', grown in a loamy soil, and to study the effect of rainfall flush on salt accumulation in the rhizosphere. The rhizobox (10 x 5.5 x 50 cm) had a nylon mesh (1 mu m) positioned vertically in the middle to create two compartments filled with soil amended with 1 g NaCl kg(-1). The plants were grown in one compartment only. Flushed treatments received 275 mL of deionized water two days before harvest. In the plant-growing compartment, soils were sectioned vertically at 5 cm intervals. Significant differences in soil electrical conductivity (EC) (P < 0.05) and pH (P < 0.05) were observed for depths, but not between flushed and non-flushed treatments. In the no-plant compartment (rhizosphere), soil cores were taken horizontally at depths of 5, 20 and 40 cm and sliced at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 mm away from the roots. Soil EC and Cl- concentration at the 5 and 20 cm depths, and Na+ concentration at the 5 cm depth significantly decreased (P < 0.05) with the distance away from the root, but no significant differences were observed in soil pH and concentrations of the K+ and Ca2+. The flush treatment only had significant influence on soil EC, pH, and Cl- concentration at the 20 cm depth. Thus, salt accumulation could occur in the rhizosphere of salt-tolerant species on saline soils, and the periodic low rainfall might not have a strong influence on salt distribution in the rhizosphere and/or root zone.
|Publication status||Published - 2005|