Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth.) affects soil structure differently depending on soil texture

Bacq-Labreuil, A., Crawford, J. , Mooney, S.J., Neal, A.L. and Ritz, K. (2019) Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia Benth.) affects soil structure differently depending on soil texture. Plant and Soil, 441(1-2), pp. 543-554. (doi: 10.1007/s11104-019-04144-4)

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Aims: We studied the effects of Phacelia tanacetifolia, increasingly used as a cover-crop species in arable agricultural systems, upon soil structural properties in the context of two contrasting soil textures. We hypothesised there would be differential effects of the plants upon soil structure contingent on the texture. Methods: A sandy-loam and a clay soil were destructured by passing through 2 mm sieves, and planted with Phacelia in a replicated pot experiment, with associated unplanted controls. X-ray Computed Tomography was used to visualise and quantify the soil pore networks in 3D. Results: For the sandy-loam soil, there was no impact of plants upon aggregate size distribution porosity, pore connectivity, and pore surface density decreased in the presence of plants, whereas for the clay, there was a significant increase of aggregates <1000 μm, the porosity was constant, the pore-connectivity decreased, and surface density increased in the presence of plants. Conclusions: Plants can impact the structural genesis of soil depending on its inherent textural characteristics, leading to a differential development of pore architecture in different contexts. These results have implications both from an ecological perspective and in terms of the prescription of plants to remediate or condition soil structure in managed systems.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The University of Nottingham Hounsfield Facility receives funding from BBSRC (Swindon, UK), and The Wolfson Foundation (London, UK). This work is supported by the BBSRC-funded Soil to Nutrition strategic programme (BBS/E/C/000I0310) and jointly by the Natural Environment Research Council and BBSRC as part of the Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems research programme (BBS/E/C/000I0130).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crawford, Professor John
Authors: Bacq-Labreuil, A., Crawford, J., Mooney, S.J., Neal, A.L., and Ritz, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Plant and Soil
ISSN (Online):1573-5036
Published Online:11 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Plant and Soil 441(1-2): 543-554
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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