The effect of phosphorus on the growth, chemical composition, and critical phosphorus percentages of some tropical pasture grasses
CS Andrew and MF Robins
Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
22(5) 693 - 706
Nine tropical pasture grasses were grown in pots of a phosphate-deficient solodic soil with varying additions of phosphate. Growth responses and chemical composition of the plant tops were recorded, and from these, critical percentages of phosphorus were established. All species responded to phosphate addition. Under the conditions of this experiment Melinus minutiflora was the most responsive species and Pennisetum clandestinum the least responsive.
Critical percentages of phosphorus in the tops of Melinus minutiflora, Cenchrus ciliaris, Paspalum dilatatum, Panicum maximum, Chloris gayana, Sorghum almum, Setaria anceps, Digitaria decumbens and Pennisetum clandestinum sampled at the immediate pre-flowering stage of growth were 0.18, 0.25, 0.25, 0.20, 0.22, 0.20, 0.21, 0.16, and 0.22% respectively of the dry matter. Phosphate applications decreased the concentration of plant potassium, had no significant effect on calcium, increased magnesium in most species, and in four species increased sodium. The increases in magnesium and sodium are considered to result in part from reduced potassium uptake and the plant's ability to preserve cation balance.
Three species, C. gayana, P. maximum and D. decumbens, had relatively high concentrations of sodium (58, 46, and 46% of total cations respectively). In contrast S. anceps had a relatively high concentration of potassium (56 % of total cations) and low sodium (7%).
Phosphate applications decreased the concentration of nitrogen, and had little effect on chloride.
Full text doi:10.1071/AR9710693
© CSIRO 1971