Fertilizer research

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Granite powder as a source of potassium for plants: a glasshouse bioassay comparing two pasture species

  • C. Coroneos
  • P. Hinsinger
  • R. J. Gilkes


The effect of granite powder (<70µm) as a K fertilizer was investigated in a glasshouse pot experiment conducted with three acid, sandy topsoils from podzols of South Western Australia and with three fertilizer treatments: a control without K application, a KCl treatment (90 mg K kg−1 soil) and a granite treatment (20 g granite kg−1 soil, yielding 640 mg K kg−1 soil). Subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum) and ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) were cropped in triplicated pots for 7 weeks, harvested and allowed to regrow for another 13 weeks. Clover growth at 7 weeks was in the following order: control < granite < KCl. The growth of ryegrass after 7 weeks was not significantly affected by granite as compared to the control treatment. After another 13 weeks, both species showed a significant growth response to granite application for two of the three soils studied. For both species and all three soils K concentrations in the plant tissue were systematically and significantly higher for KCl relative to granite and for granite relative to control treatment. Minor dissolution of granite occurred during the short duration of the experiment as indicated by changes in soil exchangeable K in uncropped pots (about 1-2% of K applied) and resulted in the increased K concentration in plants and the growth response of subterranean clover after 7 and 20 weeks and ryegrass after 20 weeks of cropping. The possible use of granite powder as a slow-release K fertilizer is discussed.

Key words

dissolution exchangeable potassium granite K fertilizer Lolium rigidum Trifolium subterraneum 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Coroneos
    • 1
  • P. Hinsinger
    • 1
  • R. J. Gilkes
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil Science and Plant NutritionFaculty of Agriculture, University of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

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