Root penetration of Lolium perenne on colliery shale in response to reclamation treatments.

Published online
01 Jan 1974
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Fitter, A. H. & Bradshaw, A. D.

Publication language


Perennial ryegrass cv. S23 was grown on 13 shales in a glasshouse and at 3 field sites with 0, 125 or 625 kg 17-17-17 (NPK) fertilizer/ha (field) or 625 or 1250 kg 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer/ha (glasshouse). In a 3rd experiment at 1 site, 50 kg N, 20 kg K and 0-100 kg P/ha as analytical reagent were applied. Limestone was applied at 2.5-12.5 t/ha. Increasing levels of fertilizer increased root penetration considerably, while limestone had a smaller effect. In the field, pH had little effect whereas in the glasshouse root penetration was adversely affected at pH <4.1. In the 3rd trial maximum root penetration coincided with maximum shoot growth; root penetration in this experiment was poorer and this was considered to be related to the lower level of N used. It was considered that there may be a direct stimulation of root growth by the presence of nutrients at a particular depth, and deep incorporation of fertilizers was recommended.

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