, Volume 142, Issue 3, pp 413–423 | Cite as

P and K additions enhance canopy N retention and accelerate the associated leaching

  • Masaaki ChiwaEmail author
  • Lucy J. Sheppard
  • Ian D. Leith
  • Sarah R. Leeson
  • Y. Sim Tang
  • J. Neil Cape


This study evaluated the interactive effects of combined phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) additions on canopy nitrogen (N) retention (CNR) and subsequent canopy leaching at a long-term N manipulation site on Whim bog in south Scotland. Ambient deposition is 8 kg N ha−1 year−1 and an additional 8, 24, and 56 kg N ha−1 year−1 of either ammonium (NH4+) or nitrate (NO3) with or without P and K has been applied over 11 years. Throughfall N deposition below Calluna vulgaris and foliar N and P concentrations were assessed. Results showed that 60% for low dose and 53% for high dose of NO3 contrasting with 80% for low dose and 38% for high dose of NH4+ onto Calluna was retained by Calluna canopy. The CNR was enhanced by P and K addition in which 84% of NO3 and 83% of NH4+ for high dose were retained. CNR for NO3 increased the canopy leaching of dissolved organic N (DON) and associated organic anions. NH4+ retention increased canopy leaching of magnesium and calcium through ion exchange. Even over 11-years N exposure without P and K, foliage N:P ratio of Calluna did not increase, suggesting that N exposure did not lead to N saturation of Calluna at Whim bog. Our study concluded that increases in P and K availability enhance CNR of Calluna but accelerate the associated canopy leaching of DON and base cations, depending on foliar N status.


Manipulation experiment Peatland Calluna vulgaris Dissolved organic nitrogen Base cations Long-term study 



This study was financially supported by NERC (CEH Project NEC04591, Defra (CPEA 18), the EU Projects NitroEurope IP (017841 (GOCE)) and ÉCLAIRE (FP7-ENV-2011 Grant 282910), and JSPS KAKENHI (JP26450198 and JP17H03833).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kyushu University ForestKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)PenicuikUK

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