Growth and elemental accumulation by canola on soil amended with coal fly ash

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Environmental Quality, 2008, 37 (3), pp. 1263 - 1270
Issue Date:
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To explore the agronomic potential of an Australian coal fly ash, we conducted two glasshouse experiments in which we measured chlorophyll fluorescence, CO2 assimilation (A), transpiration, stomacal conductance, biomass accumulation, seed yield, and elemental uptake for canola (Brassica napus) grown on soil amended with an alkaline fly ash. In Experiment 1, application of up to 25 Mg/ha of fly ash increased A and plant weight early in the season before flowering and seed yield by up to 21%. However, at larger rates of ash application A, plant growth, chlorophyll concentration, and yield were all reduced. Increases in early vigor and seed yield were associated with enhanced uptake of phosphorus (P) by the plants treated with fly ash. Fly ash application did not influence accumulation of B, Cu, Mo, or Zn in the stems at any stage of plant growth or in the seed at harvest, except Mo concentration, which was elevated in the seed. Accumulation of these elements was mostly in the leaves, where concentrations of Cu and Mo increased with any amount of ash applied while that of B occurred only with ash applied at 625 Mg/ha. In Experiment 2, fly ash applied at 500 Mg/ha and mixed into die whole 30 cm soil core was detrimental to growth and yield of canola, compared with restricting mixing to 5 or 15 cm depth. In contrast, application of ash at 250 Mg/ha with increasing depth of mixing increased A and seed yield. We concluded that fly ash applied at not more than 25 Mg/ha and mixed into the top 10 to 15 cm of soil is sufficient to obtain yield benefits. Copyright © 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.
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