Effect of land use type and different crop cultivations on different potassium forms of soils (with emphasis on clay mineralogy)

Document Type : Complete scientific research article



Background and Objectives: Potassium (K) is an essential element for plant growth and its forms and availability may be affected by soil properties, clay mineralogy and crop cultivation. Potassium exists as four forms in soil including soluble, exchangeable, non- exchangeable and structural. The non-exchangeable and structural K are related to the content of some minerlas like feldspars and micas; while exchangeable K is defined as K ions adsorbed on clay minerals and organic matter. Soluble K constituted <1% of total K. Crops varied in their K needs and different crops may absorbs K in different quantities. No information is available about the status of K in soil of Lorestan and Kermanshah province and its relationship with clay mineralogy under different crop cultivation. Therefore, the main objectives of this study were to determine the contents of K forms in some representative soils of Doroud, Gyan and Kangavar areas under different crop cultivation, to analysis clay mineralogy of the studied soils and to find relationships among different forms of K and clay mineralogy.
Materials and Methods: In the current investigation, three different areas incluging Gyan, Droud and Kangavar were selected. Then 15 soil series with different properties and crop cultivation history were selected and soil profiles were dugged and described. The selected soils were under cultivation of orchard, wheat, rice, maize, canola, sugar beet and grape. Soil samples were collected from different horizons and physicochemical and mineralogical characteristics were measured in the laboratory. Different forms of K including soluble, exchangeable, non-exchangeable and total were determined.
Results: All soils were calcareous and classified as Inceptisols. The contents of clay, silt, calcium carbonate equivalent and organic matter ranged 27.5-53.2, 21-49.8, 15.3-50.3 and 0.7-1.8 percentage, respectively. The contents of soluble, exchangeable, non-exchangeable and total K in the studied soils ranged 3-62, 105-676, 32-2083 and 3600-9333 mg/kg, respectively. Results indicated that the mean contents of soluble (44.2 mg/kg), non-exchangeable (1585 mg/Kg) and total K (7251 mg/Kg) were the highest in paddy soil may be due to the higher clay content and lower content of calcium carbonate content; while the exchangeable K content was the highest in the soils under maize cultivation (676.4 mg/Kg). Mineralogical analysis indicated that smectite (20-30%), vermiculite (30-50%) and illite (10-20%) are the predominant clay minerals in the surface and subsurface horizons, respectively. Significant relationships were observed between exchangeable K and organic matter and clay contents. Different forms of K in the studied soils was also correlated with illite content of the clay fraction.
Conclusion: It is concluded that most studied soils had considerable contents of different K forms. The paddy soils had higher contents of soluble, non-exchangeable and total K than non paddy soils. It seems that illite and vermiculite are the predominant K-bearing minerlas in paddy soils. Crop cultivation had significant effects on K status of the studied soils due to different K demand and agricultural practices. Generally, it is recommended that crop rotation and clay mineralogy should be considered for better management of K fertility.


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