The effect of the soil compaction on the contents of alfalfa root reserve nutrients in relation to the stand density and the amount of root biomass

https://doi.org/10.17221/2117-SWRCitation:Hakl J., Šantrůček J., Kocourková D., Fuksa P. (2007): The effect of the soil compaction on the contents of alfalfa root reserve nutrients in relation to the stand density and the amount of root biomass. Soil & Water Res., 2: 54-58.
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The reserve root nutrients influence the overwintering, regrowth, yield, and persistence of alfalfa plants. The total amount of the root reserves is considered more important than their concentration. One of the factors which can affect the reserve content can be the soil compaction. The aim of this study is to clarify the effect of the soil compaction on the reserve root nutrients in relation to the stand density and the amount of the root biomass. In this experiment, the stand density ranged from 28 to 112 plants per m2. The average soil bulk density in the uncompacted and compacted variants was found to be 1.38 and 1.52 g/cm3, respectively. In spring and autumn periods, the root samples were taken from an area of 0.25 m2 (the depth 150 mm) in four replications. The number of plants, the root weight, and the concentrations of starch, saccharose, fructose, and crude protein were assessed in each plot. The total amount of the root reserves was calculated from the determined concentrations and the weights of roots of each sample. A higher soil compaction reduced significantly the stand density, root weight, total amount of all nutrients as well as the starch and crude protein concentrations. The concentration of the soluble non-structural saccharides was identical to or increased over that in the compacted variant. The negative significant effect of a higher soil compaction on the root weight and, consequently, on the total amount of all reserve root nutrients was explained by the changes in the stand density. When the root weight effect was excluded, the compacted variant provided a significantly lower density and crude protein amount and concentration. The significant effect of density on the reserve nutrients was explained by changes in the root weight.
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