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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Responses of Grasses and Legumes to Soil pH1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 5, p. 678-682
    Received: Jan 11, 1974

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  1. A. J. Palazzo and
  2. R. W. Duell2



Species adaptation to soil pH has been generalized in the literature. This study was conducted to determine the responses of 19 varieties of grasses and legumes to soil pH ranging from pH 4.2 to 7.6 in field plots of a l~reehold sandy loam. Profiles of soil pH and relationships of pH to availability of nutrient elements, plant weights, and tissue analyses are presented. Different pH levels were developed over a period of 4 years as a result of surface application rates of NH4NOand Ca(OH)= to a split-split plot, randomized field design. Magnesium was included as a variable and applied to sub-sub plots at rates of 0 and 44.8 kg of Mg/ha from MgSO4. Aluminum, manganese, iron, and zinc analyses of follage of three grasses were made along with chemical analyses of the soil. The ph of the soil profile was taken at seven increments to a depth of 150 cm.

Ca(OH)2 applications tended to raise soil pH to depth of 40 cm and NH4,NO3 applications depressed soil pH to a depth of 60 cm. l~our fine rescue (Festuca rubra L.) varieties produced their greatest growth in the most acid plots (pH 4.2) studied. Negative linear correlatlons between plant weights and soil pH were found. Quadratic and curvilinear relationships were found for all other grasses which did best in a pH range from 6.0 to 6.5. The legumes required a higher soil pH for optimum growth than the grasses.

‘Pennlawn’ red fescue (Festuca rubra L.), which did well in plots of the most acid soils, had lower contents of AI in above ground tissue than did ‘Kenblue’ Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) or ‘Manhattan’ perennialryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) which were limited in these soils. Tissue contents of Mn and other elements were neither too high nor too low to limit growth.

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