Plant and Soil

, Volume 257, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

Deep placement of manganese fertiliser improves sustainability of lucerne growing on bauxite residue: A glasshouse study

  • M. J. Gherardi
  • Z. Rengel


Successful revegetation of bauxite residue sand (BRS) requires large inputs of nutrients such as manganese (Mn), yet Mn deficiency is still encountered, raising doubts about sustainable revegetation of BRS disposal areas. The application of deep placement of Mn, a measure common in agriculture, was examined as a method for improving productivity and sustainability when lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) is used as a species for BRS revegetation. In pots containing BRS, Mn was banded at 2.5-, 10- and 20-cm depths at rates of 10, 20 and 50 μg g−1 BRS. Two lucerne genotypes used were Salado, a Mn-deficiency-tolerant variety, and Sirosal, a Mn-deficiency-sensitive variety. Banding at 10-cm depth produced the best shoot growth of Sirosal at each Mn rate. Greatest shoot growth in Salado was found at 2.5-, 10- and 20-cm depths for 10, 20 and 50 μg Mn g−1 BRS, respectively. Deep banding 20 μg Mn g−1 BRS at 10-cm depth significantly increased lucerne growth compared with mixing through the profile. Banding at 20 cm produced Mn deficiency symptoms in lucerne during early growth, but symptoms were alleviated when sufficient amounts of roots proliferated in the banding zone. Dissolution and movement of Mn away from the fertiliser band were also investigated. In pots without plants, water throughput from watering twice weekly to 110% field capacity had no effect on the amount of extractable Mn at distances more than 1 cm away from the original Mn band position. Whilst not only providing a more effective supply of Mn for BRS revegetation over one growth period, deep-banding of adequate rates of Mn may also result in a longer residual value, reducing the need for frequent broadcast applications.

bauxite residue deep banding fertiliser lucerne manganese revegetation 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, School of Earth and Geographical SciencesThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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