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Effects of repeated application of organic soil amendments on horticultural soil physicochemical properties, nitrogen budget and yield

Duddigan, S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6228-4462, Alexander, P. D., Shaw, L. D. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4985-7078 and Collins, C. (2021) Effects of repeated application of organic soil amendments on horticultural soil physicochemical properties, nitrogen budget and yield. Horticulturae, 7 (10). 371. ISSN 2311-7524

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/horticulturae7100371

Abstract/Summary

Application of organic amendments to soil is commonplace in domestic gardening. However, a vast array of materials could be labelled as ‘compost’ by retailers and suppliers. We investigated six different amendments currently used, or available for use, in horticulture: composted bark, composted bracken, spent mushroom compost, composted horse manure, garden waste compost (at two different application rates), and peat. Using a controlled field experiment, we examined the physicochemical differences between the amendments, the subsequent effects on soil characteristics, and resultant yield and biometrics of Lavatera trimiestris. Amended soils resulted in a significantly different multivariate soil environment and N budget when compared to the unamended control. However, the effect on yield and plant biometrics (number of flowers, plant height, etc.) depended on the amendment used. Application of garden compost resulted in up to a five-fold increase in yield. However, there was no significant difference in yields in soils amended with composted bark or peat, when compared to the unamended control. This has implications, as there is increasing pressure to remove peat from products available to domestic gardeners. The variability in the different amendments investigated in our research, in addition to the variable effects on plant growth parameters, suggests that repeated use of a single amendment may not be best practise for gardeners.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:100823
Publisher:MDPI

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