In the development of the Dutch National Ecological Network, many hectares of arable land are converted to nature areas to protect plant and animal species. This encompasses development of species-rich grasslands. On former agricultural land on sandy soils, this development is often hampered by relatively high phosphorus (P) levels, which also cause eutrophication. Standard practices to decrease the amount of P are either topsoil removal or long-term mowing of low-yielding established grassland. Both methods have disadvantages, and there is a need for additional techniques. As an alternative, phytoextraction (“mining”) of soil P has been proposed. We tested a new technique of mining without mineral N fertilizer by cropping an intensively mown grass-clover with potassium (K) fertilization that could potentially be used as cattle feed. A long-term field experiment was conducted, comparing soil P removal by grass-clover swards with and without supplementary K fertilization on a sandy soil. During the experiment, which ran from 2002 to 2009, soil P levels and nutrient contents of grass-clover were measured, and P and K balances were calculated. Our results show that grass-clover with K fertilization removed excess soil P (also at lower P levels) at a relatively high rate (34 kg P ha−1 yr−1, significantly higher than without K fertilization; P < 0.05) and produced reasonable yields of grass-clover. Our P balance suggested reduced leaching from the topsoil during this experiment. For nature restoration in agricultural areas, this tool opens many possibilities.
Pagina's / pages: 8
Type: Wetenschappelijk artikel
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Abstract / summary in English:
Keywords in English: Dutch National Ecological Network, grassland, phosphorus, eutrophication, topsoil removal, phytoextraction, mining, grass-clover, N-fertilizer, dry matter, ammonium lactate–extractable phosphorus, waterextractable phosphorus, soil organic matter