Comparison of indices for the prediction of nitrogen mineralization after destruction of managed grassland

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Intensively managed grasslands are occasionally chemically killed with herbicide and ploughed in order to grow an arable crop. After this management, large N mineralization rates with large losses to the environment are commonly observed. However, it remains to be determined to what extent the chemical killing contribute to increased N mineralization. In this study the potential nitrogen (N) mineralization from grasslands, that were killed with herbicides but otherwise undisturbed, was investigated in a laboratory experiment with undisturbed soil columns. Subsequently we assessed the predictive value of several laboratory indices for N mineralization after chemically killing of the grass. Mineralization rates varied from 0.5 to 3.0 g N m-2 wk-1. The contents of total N, total C, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and hot-KCl extractable NH4 + were best related to N mineralization rates (R2=50, 48, 38 and 47%, respectively). In combination with information on the N content of the roots and stubble and the age of grassland at destruction, up to 62% of the variation in N mineralization rates could be explained. Although previous studies suggested that dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) is a good indicator for mineralization rates, this was not the case after chemically killing grass in the current study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • soil-nitrogen
  • organic nitrogen
  • n-mineralization
  • loam soil
  • fractions
  • clover
  • temperature
  • extraction
  • swards
  • matter


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