The use of feldspars as potassium fertilizers in the savannah of Colombia


Finely ground sanidine feldspar from the Huila area of Colombia (< 100 mesh, largely sanidine, 7% K) and KCl were used as fertilizers in a pasture experiment at Carimagua on an oxisol containing lmg total K and 23µg exchangeable K per g (0.6µeq per g). The association ofBrachiaria dyctioneura andPueraria phaseoloides clearly responded to K taken up from the KCl with a small though non-significant response to the feldspar. During 14 months the crop took up between 25 and 68% of the KCl-K or about 10% of the feldspar-K. Much of the applied KCl became non-exchangeable, but was released as required by the crop: the soil contained an Al chlorite-vermiculite which held the native K and fixed and released K during the experiment. The feldspar may be valuable as a slow release fertilizer in low input agricultural systems particularly on leached soils of low ECEC.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Aitken AP (1887) Ground feldspar as a potash manure. Transactions of the Highland Society (Scotland) 19: 253–255

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Arkcoll DB, Goulding KWT and Hughes JC (1985) Traces of 2:1 layer silicate clays in Oxisols from Brazil, and their significance for potassium nutrition. Journal of Soil Science 36: 123–128

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Belentine W (1889) Experiments with feldspar as a source of potash. Maine Agricultural Experimental Station. Annual Report, 143-144.

  4. 4.

    Berner RA and Holdren GR (1979) Mechanism of feldspar weathering. II Observations of feldspars from soils. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 43: 1173–1186

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    CIAT (Centro International de Agricultural Tropical) Annual Reports of the Tropical Pastures Programme 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984

  6. 6.

    Drever JI (1982) The Geochemistry of Natural Waters, Chapter 6 Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Holdren GR and Berner RA (1979) Mechanism of feldspar weathering I Experimental Studies. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 43: 1161–1171

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Huang PM (1977) Feldspars, Olivines, Pyroxenes and Amphiboles. In Minerals in the Soil Environment (eds J. B. Dixon and S. B. Weed) pp 553–602 Soil Science Society of America, Madison Wisconsin

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Kronberg BI (1976) The geochemistry of some Brazilian soils and geochemical considerations for agriculture on highly leached soils. Ph.D. thesis, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Lindsay WL (1979) Chemical Equilibria in Soils, John Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Nortcliff SN and Thorne JB (1987) Temporal and spatial variations in nutrient fluxes in a forested tropical ecosystem. Proceedings of the Conference on Nutrient Cycling in Tropical Ecosystems Stirling September 1987

  12. 12.

    Salinas JG and Garcia R (1985) Methods quimicos para el analisis de suelos acidos y plantas forrajeras. Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Programa de Pastos Tropicales, Cali

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Sanchez PA (1985) Fertilizers make continuous cropping possible in the Amazon. In Better Crops International, Potash and Phosphate Institute 1; 12–15

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Sanchez PA and Salinas JS (1981) Low input technology for managing Oxisols and Ultisols in Tropical America. Advances in Agronomy 34: 279–406

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Sanz Scovino JI (1986) Native sources of soil potassium and the use of feldspars as fertilizers in the savannah of Colombia. Ph.D. thesis, Reading University

  16. 16.

    Sparks DL (1986) Potassium release from interlayers. In Nutrient Balances and the need for Potassium. 13th Congress of the International Potash Institute, 83–95. International Potash Institute, Worblaufen-Bern

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Sylvester-Bradley R and Mosquera D (1985) Nitrification and responses to Rhizobium inoculation in tropical savannah as affected by land preparation. In Nitrogen Management in Farming Systems in Humid and Subhumid Tropics (eds B. T Kang and J. van der Heide), Institute for Soil Fertility, Haren, The Netherlands

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    USDA (1975) Soil Taxonomy United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook No. 436 United States Government Printing Office, Washington

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sanz Scovino, J.I., Rowell, D.L. The use of feldspars as potassium fertilizers in the savannah of Colombia. Fertilizer Research 17, 71–83 (1988).

Download citation

Key words

  • Feldspar
  • fertilizer
  • K-uptake
  • pasture
  • potassium
  • soil-K