Evaluation of liming properties and potassium bioavailability of three Atlantic Canada wood ash sources.

Sharifi, M., Cheema, M.A., McVicar, K., LeBlanc, L., and Fillmore, S.A.E. (2013). "Evaluation of liming properties and potassium bioavailability of three Atlantic Canada wood ash sources.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 93(6), pp. 1209-1216. doi : 10.4141/cjps2013-168  Access to full text

Abstract

Wood ash has the potential to enhance productivity in agricultural systems by influencing soil pH and nutrient availability. The liming properties and fertility values of wood ash from three Atlantic wood ash sources were evaluated in this study. The liming properties were tested using three wood ash sources [JD Irving (IR), New Page (NP), and Brooklyn Power (BP)] and two local lime sources in an 8-mo incubation experiment at 25°C. Soil pH was measured 14 times during the incubation. Availability of potassium (K) in wood ash was evaluated in a greenhouse setting with a K-deficient soil using annual ryegrass as the test plant. Total plant K and P uptake and Mehlich-3 extractable K and P were used as predictors of nutrient bioavailability. Wood ash application increased soil pH to the maximum level within the first 50 d after application and stabilized soil pH for 8 mo. The measured effective calcium carbonate equivalent of ashes relative to Mosher lime average among two soils were in order of BP (32)>IR (25)>NP (16). About 96, 38, and 71% of total K in IR, NP and BP ash sources, respectively, were bioavailable for ryegrass in 115 d. Although soil was not P deficient, soil P bioavailability (Mehlich III extractable P) was enhanced by 14 and 48% in NP and BP wood ash treatments, respectively, whereas P bioavailability decreased by 24% in the IR ash treatment. The results clearly demonstrate that these sources of wood ash can be considered as an effective liming agent and source of K in agricultural production systems.

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