Nodulation of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) roots: depth distribution and temporal variation

https://doi.org/10.17221/314/2012-PSECitation:Li F., Kautz T., Pude R., Köpke U. (2012): Nodulation of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) roots: depth distribution and temporal variation. Plant Soil Environ., 58: 424-428.
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This study was undertaken in order to test whether the development of nodule density over the vegetation period is different in lucerne stands grown for 1, 2 or 3 years continuously. For rapidly assessing nodule density in the field, a modified profile wall method was applied. Nodules were counted on a vertical profile wall, after spraying away a 2 cm layer of soil. For validating this method nodule density was determined on roots washed from monolith samples. Field data indicate that there is a shift of nodulation towards deeper soil layers with increasing maturity of lucerne stands. In 1-year lucerne nodulation was limited virtually to the top 15 cm of soil. In the 15–30 cm soil layer and in the subsoil (30–80 cm), nodule density increased with the cropping duration (1 year < 2 years < 3 years). Temporal decreases in nodule density during the vegetation period associated with dry spells were more pronounced for 2-years as compared with 3-years lucerne.
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