Plant and Soil

, Volume 393, Issue 1–2, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Similar phosphorus transfer from cover crop residues and water-soluble mineral fertilizer to soils and a subsequent crop

Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

Cover crops provide benefits in agricultural systems with high P availability (i.e., optimal or excessive soil P for plant growth) by reducing losses of soil phosphorus (P) via erosion and leaching, and potentially by increasing soil P availability when P is released during residue decomposition. We quantified P transfer from cover crop residues to soil pools and a subsequent wheat crop in a greenhouse experiment.

Methods

Soils from two field experiments in California (Davis and Salinas) were labeled with carrier-free 33P and amended at a rate of 15 mg P kg−1 soil with cover crop residues (rye, oat, fava bean, vetch, mustard, rye-legumes mixture) or water-soluble mineral fertilizer. We analyzed plants and several soil pools – resin, microbial, and organic – for P and 33P.

Results

In both soils, residues and water-soluble mineral fertilizer had a similar effect on soil pools and wheat P uptake, except for higher microbial and organic P with residues in the Davis soil. Residues contributed 35–40 % (Davis) or 20–25 % (Salinas) of the P taken up by wheat, and 13–22 % (Davis) or 8–14 % (Salinas) of residue P was recovered in wheat.

Conclusions

Our results demonstrate that P taken up by cover crops can cycle rapidly in agricultural systems with high soil P availability, with direct benefits for soil P availability and few differences among these cover crop species.

Keywords

Fava bean (Vicia fabaPurple vetch (Vicia benghalensisRye (Secale cerealeOat (Avena sativaWinter wheat (Triticum aestivumWhite mustard (Sinapis alba

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2477_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (127 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 126 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Plant Nutrition GroupETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Faculty of Land and Food SystemsVancouverCanada

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