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Plant and Soil

, Volume 400, Issue 1–2, pp 67–79 | Cite as

N:P ratio of the grass Bothriochloa ischaemum mixed with the legume Lespedeza davurica under varying water and fertilizer supplies

  • Bingcheng Xu
  • Zhijuan Gao
  • Jing Wang
  • Weizhou Xu
  • Jairo A. Palta
  • Yinglong Chen
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and Aims

Plant growth and ecosystem processes in semiarid regions are limited by soil nutrient and water availability. Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) status and the N:P ratio alterations among plant organs are critical in understanding the physiology and productivity of the grass-legume mixture system. This study aimed to identify the N and P distribution patterns and N:P stoichiometry of a local grass species mixed with a legume species under varying water and fertilizer supplies.

Methods

A C4 perennial herbaceous grass Bothriochloa ischaemum and a C3 perennial leguminous subshrub Lespedeza davurica were grown in a pot experiment with a randomized complete block design consisting of four fertilizations (non-NP, +N, +P and +NP fertilizers), three soil water regimes (80, 60 and 40 % of soil water field capacity, FC) and six planting ratios (2:10, 4:8, 6:6, 8:4, 10:2, and 12:0, grass:legume plants, respectively). Plants were assessed for biomass production, N and P concentration and N:P ratios in various organs 202 days after sowing (DAS).

Results

For the grass species (B. ischaemum), N and P concentrations of leaf, stem and root were higher when mixed with the legume (L. davurica) compared to its monoculture, and with a trend to decrease as its mixture proportion increased. Supply with P fertilizer (+P) increased N and P concentrations of B. ischaemum regardless of mixture proportions and soil water regimes. In mixtures, N concentration was the highest in the root system followed by the leaf, and the least in the stem. There was no significant difference in N:P ratio of the stem and the root across the mixture proportions under +P and +NP treatments, and among all soil water regimes, either. Root N:P ratio was significantly lower under +P and +NP than that under non-NP or +N treatment regardless of mixture proportions and soil water regimes.

Conclusions

N and P capture and absorption in B. ischaemum were greatly improved when mixed with the legume species, L. davurica. The N and P concentrations in different organs were influenced by both fertilization and the mixture proportions. Application with combined N and P fertilizers enhanced N and P uptake in B. ischaemum. P fertilization should be considered when establishing artificial grassland using native species in the region.

Keywords

N:P ratio Fertilization Soil water content Mixture plantation Nutrient availability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by National Science Foundation of China (41371509), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (ZD2013020) and Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2714_MOESM1_ESM.docx (105 kb)
Fig. S1 Leaf N:P ratio of Bothriochloa ischaemum (B) mixed with Lespedeza davurica (L) at various mixture proportions under three soil water regimes [HW:80 % FC (field capacity); MW:60 % FC; LW:40 % FC] and four fertilization treatments (−NP, +N, +P, +NP). The vertical bars indicates the LSD value (p ≤ 0.05) for differences between soil water content (SWC) for each mixture proportion. (DOCX 105 kb)
11104_2015_2714_MOESM2_ESM.docx (102 kb)
Fig. S2 Stem N:P proportion of Bothriochloa ischaemum (B) mixed with Lespedeza davurica (L) at various mixture proportions under three soil water regimes [HW:80 % FC (field capacity); MW:60 % FC; LW:40 % FC] and four fertilization treatments (−NP, +N, +P, +NP). The vertical bars indicates the LSD value (p ≤ 0.05) for differences between soil water content (SWC) for each mixture proportion. (DOCX 102 kb)
11104_2015_2714_MOESM3_ESM.docx (102 kb)
Fig. S3 Root N:P proportion of Bothriochloa ischaemum (B) mixed with Lespedeza davurica (L) at various mixture proportions under three soil water regimes [HW:80 % FC (field capacity); MW:60 % FC; LW:40 % FC] and four fertilization treatments (−NP, +N, +P, +NP). The vertical bars indicates the LSD value (p ≤ 0.05) for differences between soil water content (SWC) for each mixture proportion. (DOCX 102 kb)
11104_2015_2714_MOESM4_ESM.docx (147 kb)
Fig. S4 Biomass production (g plant−1) of Bothriochloa ischaemum (B) mixed with Lespedeza davurica (L) at various mixture proportions under three soil water regimes [HW:80 % FC (field capacity); MW:60 % FC; LW:40 % FC] and four fertilization treatments (−NP, +N, +P, +NP). The vertical bars indicates the LSD value (p ≤ 0.05) for differences between soil water content (SWC) for each mixture proportion. (DOCX 147 kb)
11104_2015_2714_MOESM5_ESM.docx (154 kb)
Fig. S5 Biomass production (g plant−1) of Lespedeza davurica (L) mixed with Bothriochloa ischaemum (B) at various mixture proportions under three soil water regimes [HW:80 % FC (field capacity); MW:60 % FC; LW: 40% FC] and four fertilization treatments (−NP, +N, +P, +NP). The vertical bars indicates the LSD value (p ≤ 0.05) for differences between soil water content (SWC) for each mixture proportion. (DOCX 154 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ResourcesYanglingChina
  3. 3.CSIRO AgricultureWembleyAustralia
  4. 4.School of Earth and Environment, & UWA Institute of AgricultureThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.School of Plant BiologyThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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