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Effect of lime, phosphorus and mycorrhizal fungi on growth, nodulation and nitrogen fixation by white clover (Trifolium repens) grown in UK hill soils

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The responses of white clover (cv NZ Grasslands Huia grown in four UK hill soil types) to additions of lime and P, to inoculation with Rhizobium and mycorrhizal fungi, and to differences in soil water status were assessed in pot and field experiments. With a deep peat soil in pots, shoot production, nodulation and N fixation by clover were increased by 160, 130 and 85% respectively following inoculation with mycorrhiza, but in the field, despite a doubling of root infection, there was no response in growth. On a brown earth soil in the field inoculation with one endophyte (Glomus mosseae L1) out of four tested depressed production of white clover shoots by 42% but enhanced that of leeks (Allium porrum) by 50%; the others were without effect. With dry peaty podzol and brown earth soils in pots, clover shoot production was highest with added P when a water holding capacity of 80% was maintained, but roots from the latter had only 2.6 compared to 68 nodules per plant from the former. Further work is required to explain poor nodulation in the brown earth soils.

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Newbould, P., Rangeley, A. Effect of lime, phosphorus and mycorrhizal fungi on growth, nodulation and nitrogen fixation by white clover (Trifolium repens) grown in UK hill soils. Plant Soil 76, 105–114 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02205571

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Key words

  • Hill soils
  • Lime
  • Mycorrhiza
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Nodulation
  • Phosphorus
  • Rhizobium
  • Symbioses
  • White clover