Open Access Short Research Article

Modifying Soil Chemistry to Enhance Heathland Recreation: A Use for Sulphur Captured During Oil Refining

Iain Green, Damian Evans, Anita Diaz

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 272-282
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/14519

The overall aim of this paper is to evaluate potential new modifications to methods for re-creating heathland habitats. Heathlands need acidic soils so the specific objectives are to evaluate the effectiveness of a new method for heathland re-creation by soil acidification using a sulphur soil amendment and to explore the benefits for re-creation of applying a soil stripping treatment in conjunction with soil acidification. A new source of sulphur was recovered from oil refinery towers and applied over agricultural sites covering a total of 13 ha on Trehill Farm, Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK in 2004. In the summer of 2011 we compared soil chemistry and plant communities on sites subjected to different sulphur treatments (sulphur applied to the existing soil surface and sulphur applied after top soil had been stripped) with those on an adjacent untreated control and on a nearby established heathland. Each of the four treatment sites and the control and heath site was surveyed using 10 random locations measuring 4 m x 4 m. The total above ground % cover was measured for each plant species and a bulk soil sample was taken in a ‘W’ shape from within each 4 m x 4 m quadrat. pH and all chemical parameters of the soil showed highly significant differences amongst the sampled sites (P>0.01 in all cases) and produced even greater abundance of ericaceous species on some of the treated sites than occurred in the established heath. However, soil stripping had no significant additional effect on either edaphic factors or plant species abundances. Sulphur recovered from oil refinery is a potentially useful tool in heathland re-creation, but soil stripping prior to sulphur amendment did not enhance success. We propose that sulphur application drives success through increasing H+ toxicity reducing the availability of base cations and creating Fe-induced Mn deficiency in plants.

Open Access Short Research Article

Short-term Effects of Cow Manure on above Ground Growth Characteristics of Brachiaria ruziziensis in Tropical Sub-humid Environment, Tanzania

David D. Maleko, Naiman J. Kileo, Yusuph Abdul-Rahman, Anthony Z. Sangeda

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 283-293
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/14709

Aims: The study assessed the effects of different levels of cow manure application on above ground growth characteristics and herbage production of Brachiaria ruziziensis (Congo signal grass) in tropical sub-humid environment on arable land. The rationale behind being contribute to better understanding of how the growth and yield components of B. ruziziensis respond to varied levels of cow manure application
Study Design: Complete Randomized Block Design (CRBD).
Place and Duration of Study: Field experiment was conducted at Magadu Dairy Farm, located in Morogoro, Tanzania, from February to June, 2014.
Methodology: Three (3) blocks (replications), 4 treatments (0, 5, 10 and 15 t/ha cow manure levels), 3 m inter-block distance, 12 plots and 0.5 m inter-plot distance. Pre-plant spread of manure into plots at varying levels followed by planting of B. ruziziensis stem cuttings. Repetitive measurement of several above ground growth parameters at 2 weeks interval post planting up to the 10th week. At the end, the pasture stand was harvested and the above ground dry matter (DM) yield was estimated. One way ANOVA under SAS computer program was used to test if there was significant difference among the treatments at P =.05.
Results: Cow manure application had a significant effect on stem height, tiller and leaf number per plant (P < .0001), in which each subsequent increase in manure application was increasing growth of these parameters. Moreover, the DM yield differed significantly across all treatments (P < .001). However, there was no significant difference in DM yield between 10 and 15 t/ha manure application rates (P = .76).
Conclusion: Cow manure was found to improve productivity of B. ruziziensis by increasing stem growth, tiller and leaf numbers, thus DM. Moreover, cow manure application rate of 10 t/ha was found to be ideal level for maximum DM yield (13.5 t/ha) under the conditions of this study.

Open Access Original Research Article

Fine and Coarse Scale Sampling of Spatial Variability within a Switchgrass Field in Oklahoma

A. J. Foster, K. Dhakal, V. G. Kakani, M. Gregory, J. Mosali

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 254-265
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/16727

Aim: The objective of this study was to describe the spatial patterns of selected soil properties and biomass yield at fine and coarse scale in a switchgrass field to determine the appropriate sampling approach to enable the calculation of means with minimum variance.

Methodology: Spatial variability of biomass yield and soil properties at fine (2.5 m sampling interval) and coarse (10 m sampling interval) scales were assessed through semivariogram analysis. The site located in Chickasha, Oklahoma, consisted of two soil types a Dale silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, superactive, thermic Pachic Haplustolls) and McLain silty clay loam (fine, mixed, superactive, thermic Pachic Argiustolls). Eighty soil samples were collected along two 100 m transects at 2.5 and 10 m intervals established across each soil type in both 2012 and 2013. Results: The semivariograms revealed coarse scale organic carbon (OC) to be strongly correlated with range values from 56–78 m for both soils. Normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) was consistently moderately correlated with a distance less than 30 m at the fine scale for both years. Switchgrass yield was strongly correlated at the fine scale for McLain silty clay for both years, while a weak spatial dependence over a range of 36 m in 2012 and a moderate dependence at 5 m in 2013 was observed for the Dale silt loam. Conversely, a reliable spatial dependence could not be identified for total nitrogen (TN).

Conclusion: These results indicate that spatial correlation of coarse scale OC might have been imposed by the cropping system, while spatial correlation of switchgrass yield was influenced by the soil texture, particularly clay content. The use of the NDVI measurement was useful to describe the spatial dependence of switchgrass yield with good precision at the fine scale.

Open Access Original Research Article

Influence of Organic and Inorganic Phosphorus Sources on Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in Tropical Soil

Mateus E. Santos, Edipo S. Figueiredo, Anice Garcia, Deise C. S. Nogueira

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 266-271
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/16532

Objective: The low phosphorus content and fixation by oxides in acidic soils is an important yield-limiting factor to common bean production in Brazil. The study was conducted to evaluate the common bean yield rate, leaf area development, level of phosphorus in the leaf, variations in the level of available soil phosphorus, submitted to different doses of organic phosphorus compared with chemical fertilization.
Materials and Methods: The experiment was carried out from June to August in a greenhouse condition at Faculty of Agronomy Dr. Francisco Maeda (FAFRAM), in city of Ituverava, SP, Brazil. The culture studied was the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), Pérola cultivar. Sowing and fertilization were carried out manually on June 2nd 2010, when five seeds were sown per pot and after emergence the plants were thinned to one plant per pot. Completely randomized design (CRD) was performed, with 5 treatments and 4 replications, in a total of 20 plots. Treatment 1 (Control) had no phosphorus application, treatment 2 (50 kg de P2O5ha-1 chemical source), treatment 3 (50 kg de P2O5ha-1 organic source), treatment 4 (25 kg de P2O5ha-1 organic source) and treatment 5 (100 kg de P2O5ha-1 organic source).
Results: The treatment with 50 kg of P2O5ha-1, with chemical source, did not present a significant difference compared with the ones with 50 and 100 kg of P2O5ha-1 using organic source, however, it was different from the Control and the treatment with lower level organic application of 25 kg of P2O5ha-1. The control also presented an alteration in the levels of P in the course of the experiment, indicating that soil correction influenced in the availability of this nutrient in all treatments. However, the availability was increased when the sources were applied.
Conclusion: When used in higher doses, the organic source of phosphorus was as efficient as the chemical source regarding number of pods per plant and also allowed greater P availability in the soil. The chemical source of phosphorus was more absorbed by the plants than the organic sources applied, although higher doses of organic sources have also responded satisfactorily to productivity.

Open Access Original Research Article

Nitrogen Distribution in Soil Profile under Sesame, Maize and Wheat Crops as Affected by Organic and Inorganic Nitrogen Fertilizers Using 15N Technique

S. Ghabour, Y. G. M. Galal, S. M. Soliman, D. M. El-Sofi, A. A. Moursy, M. M. El-Sofi

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 294-302
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/15387

Nitrogen remained in soil and distributed along the soil profile of virgin sandy soil after sesame, maize and wheat were examined using 15N isotope dilution concept. A field experiment was conducted on virgin sandy soil at the farm station of Soil and Water Research Department, Nuclear Research Center, Inshas, Egypt. Treatments of organic and inorganic fertilization practices were arranged in a complete randomized block design with three replications under drip irrigation system. After harvest of wheat, sesame and maize crops, nitrogen remained in soil was examined using the 15N isotope dilution concept. Results indicated that nitrogen uptake was positively affected by fertilization sole or combined treatments and significantly vary according to crop and different plant organs. Fertilizer N balance showed that the proportion remained in soil after harvest was differentiated dependable on crop and rate of application. In this regard, combined mineral-organic fertilization practice reflected significant reduction in N remained in soil after harvest. Nitrogen remained after maize was higher than those after wheat and sesame, respectively. Mineral-organic fertilization reduced the proportion of N fertilizer lost from the soil media. These losses were attributed to the tested crop and significantly vary among them. N remained in soil was distributed in depth of 0-20, 20-40 and 40-60 cm without significant difference between depths under sesame while wheat showed accumulation in 0-20 cm depth. N remained under maize showed accumulation in 0-20 cm affected by the combined application of 50% compost commercial +50% nitrogen mineral fertilizer (50%C2+50%MF).

Open Access Original Research Article

Comparative Assessment of Cocoa Pod Husk Biochar Fortified with NPK Fertilizer Formulations on Kola Seedling Nutrient Uptake and Soil Properties in Ibadan, Nigeria

O. S. Ibiremo, O. S. O. Akanbi

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 303-309
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/16111

A greenhouse trial was carried out at Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan in 2013 to evaluate the effect of cocoa pod husk (CPH) biochar fortified with NPK fertilizer formulations on kola seedling nutrient uptake and soil properties. The treatments consisted of a control, NPK (3 g) + Biochar (5 g), NPK (Liquid – 3 mls/L of water) + Biochar (5 g), Biochar (5 g), NPK (Solid-3 g), NPK (Liquid – 3 mls/L of water). The six treatments were replicated three times in a completely randomized design and data on nutrient uptake of kola seedlings and soil properties were taken for seven months. Results showed that all the fertilizers irrespective of rates of application and types of NPK formulations enhanced the nutrient uptake of kola seedlings relative to control.
The leaf and root nitrogen uptake of kola seedlings was significantly (p<0.05) enhanced as a result of CPH biochar applied singly (T4) or in combination with NPK liquid fertilizer (T3) compared to when biochar was applied with NPK solid fertilizer. The leaf and stem P-uptake of Kola seedlings was not significantly influenced by CPH biochar and NPK fertilizer formulations. Conversely, the P-uptake of root of kola seedlings was significantly (p<0.05) improved as a result NPK (liquid) fertilizer compared to NPK (solid) applied alone. The pH of the soil was significantly (p<0.05) affected due to application of CPH biochar in combination with liquid NPK (T3) and CPH biochar alone (T4) compared to the control and NPK solid (T5). The exchangeable K in the soil was significantly (p<0.05) influenced as a result of CPH Biochar application and NPK fertilizer formulations. CPH biochar alone (T4) significantly (p<0.05) improved the exchangeable potassium in the soil compared to the control. The positive influence of CPH biochar applied either alone or in combination with NPK fertilizers on nutrient uptake of kola seedlings and soil nutrients indicated that integrated use of organic and inorganic fertilizers holds the ace for crop production and soil fertility management in Nigeria. Kola farmers across the growing regions have the privilege of using biochar fortified with NPK fertilizer (liquid) for improved productivity.