Sward lifting in compacted grassland: effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity

H.C. de Boer, J.G.C. Deru, N. Van Eekeren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil compaction can impair the productivity of permanent grassland. A way to ameliorate compaction in the topsoil (0–30 cm), without destroying the sward, is soil loosening by sward lifting. To explore the potential of this form of non-inversion tillage, we applied this treatment once, either in spring or in autumn, to a moderately compacted grassland on a sandy soil and measured the effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity for up to two growing seasons. We also explored whether complementary overseeding with Lolium multiflorum Lam. would extend the duration of soil loosening effects. Our results show that sward lifting improved soil structure and rooting for at least 10–12 months, but did not result in a consistent or lasting increase in herbage yield or nitrogen (N) uptake. Loosening in spring decreased herbage yield (−27%) and N uptake (−16%) in the following growth period, but these decreases were largely compensated for (herbage yield) or more than compensated for (N uptake) by increases in the next three growth periods. The increase in N uptake in the first growing season (+13 kg N ha−1) was reversed in the second season (−14 kg N ha−1). Loosening in autumn increased herbage yield (+8%) and N uptake (+15%) in the first growth period (after winter), but not in the four growth periods thereafter. Cumulative yield tended to be higher (+4%), which supports the view that soil loosening should be carried out in autumn rather than in spring. The initial positive effects of loosening on herbage yield and N uptake were explained by a temporary increased soil N mineralization; initial negative effects by mechanical damage to sward and roots. Finally, complementary overseeding did not extend the duration of soil loosening effects; apparently, new root growth from the existing sward was effective enough to stabilize these effects.

LanguageEnglish
Pages317-325
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
Volume184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Fingerprint

sward
rooting
soil structure
grasslands
grassland
grass
grasses
uptake mechanisms
productivity
forage
autumn
soil
growing season
permanent grasslands
duration
mechanical damage
Lolium multiflorum
soil compaction
sandy soil
sandy soils

Keywords

  • Grassland
  • Soil compaction
  • Soil loosening
  • Soil structure
  • Sward lifting

Cite this

@article{38cd8d1a49214055a8362656e708a9e4,
title = "Sward lifting in compacted grassland: effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity",
abstract = "Soil compaction can impair the productivity of permanent grassland. A way to ameliorate compaction in the topsoil (0–30 cm), without destroying the sward, is soil loosening by sward lifting. To explore the potential of this form of non-inversion tillage, we applied this treatment once, either in spring or in autumn, to a moderately compacted grassland on a sandy soil and measured the effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity for up to two growing seasons. We also explored whether complementary overseeding with Lolium multiflorum Lam. would extend the duration of soil loosening effects. Our results show that sward lifting improved soil structure and rooting for at least 10–12 months, but did not result in a consistent or lasting increase in herbage yield or nitrogen (N) uptake. Loosening in spring decreased herbage yield (−27{\%}) and N uptake (−16{\%}) in the following growth period, but these decreases were largely compensated for (herbage yield) or more than compensated for (N uptake) by increases in the next three growth periods. The increase in N uptake in the first growing season (+13 kg N ha−1) was reversed in the second season (−14 kg N ha−1). Loosening in autumn increased herbage yield (+8{\%}) and N uptake (+15{\%}) in the first growth period (after winter), but not in the four growth periods thereafter. Cumulative yield tended to be higher (+4{\%}), which supports the view that soil loosening should be carried out in autumn rather than in spring. The initial positive effects of loosening on herbage yield and N uptake were explained by a temporary increased soil N mineralization; initial negative effects by mechanical damage to sward and roots. Finally, complementary overseeding did not extend the duration of soil loosening effects; apparently, new root growth from the existing sward was effective enough to stabilize these effects.",
keywords = "Grassland, Soil compaction, Soil loosening, Soil structure, Sward lifting",
author = "{de Boer}, H.C. and J.G.C. Deru and {Van Eekeren}, N.",
year = "2018",
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doi = "10.1016/j.still.2018.07.013",
language = "English",
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pages = "317--325",
journal = "Soil & Tillage Research",
issn = "0167-1987",
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}

Sward lifting in compacted grassland : effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity. / de Boer, H.C.; Deru, J.G.C.; Van Eekeren, N.

In: Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 184, 01.12.2018, p. 317-325.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Sward lifting in compacted grassland

T2 - Soil & Tillage Research

AU - de Boer, H.C.

AU - Deru, J.G.C.

AU - Van Eekeren, N.

PY - 2018/12/1

Y1 - 2018/12/1

N2 - Soil compaction can impair the productivity of permanent grassland. A way to ameliorate compaction in the topsoil (0–30 cm), without destroying the sward, is soil loosening by sward lifting. To explore the potential of this form of non-inversion tillage, we applied this treatment once, either in spring or in autumn, to a moderately compacted grassland on a sandy soil and measured the effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity for up to two growing seasons. We also explored whether complementary overseeding with Lolium multiflorum Lam. would extend the duration of soil loosening effects. Our results show that sward lifting improved soil structure and rooting for at least 10–12 months, but did not result in a consistent or lasting increase in herbage yield or nitrogen (N) uptake. Loosening in spring decreased herbage yield (−27%) and N uptake (−16%) in the following growth period, but these decreases were largely compensated for (herbage yield) or more than compensated for (N uptake) by increases in the next three growth periods. The increase in N uptake in the first growing season (+13 kg N ha−1) was reversed in the second season (−14 kg N ha−1). Loosening in autumn increased herbage yield (+8%) and N uptake (+15%) in the first growth period (after winter), but not in the four growth periods thereafter. Cumulative yield tended to be higher (+4%), which supports the view that soil loosening should be carried out in autumn rather than in spring. The initial positive effects of loosening on herbage yield and N uptake were explained by a temporary increased soil N mineralization; initial negative effects by mechanical damage to sward and roots. Finally, complementary overseeding did not extend the duration of soil loosening effects; apparently, new root growth from the existing sward was effective enough to stabilize these effects.

AB - Soil compaction can impair the productivity of permanent grassland. A way to ameliorate compaction in the topsoil (0–30 cm), without destroying the sward, is soil loosening by sward lifting. To explore the potential of this form of non-inversion tillage, we applied this treatment once, either in spring or in autumn, to a moderately compacted grassland on a sandy soil and measured the effects on soil structure, grass rooting and productivity for up to two growing seasons. We also explored whether complementary overseeding with Lolium multiflorum Lam. would extend the duration of soil loosening effects. Our results show that sward lifting improved soil structure and rooting for at least 10–12 months, but did not result in a consistent or lasting increase in herbage yield or nitrogen (N) uptake. Loosening in spring decreased herbage yield (−27%) and N uptake (−16%) in the following growth period, but these decreases were largely compensated for (herbage yield) or more than compensated for (N uptake) by increases in the next three growth periods. The increase in N uptake in the first growing season (+13 kg N ha−1) was reversed in the second season (−14 kg N ha−1). Loosening in autumn increased herbage yield (+8%) and N uptake (+15%) in the first growth period (after winter), but not in the four growth periods thereafter. Cumulative yield tended to be higher (+4%), which supports the view that soil loosening should be carried out in autumn rather than in spring. The initial positive effects of loosening on herbage yield and N uptake were explained by a temporary increased soil N mineralization; initial negative effects by mechanical damage to sward and roots. Finally, complementary overseeding did not extend the duration of soil loosening effects; apparently, new root growth from the existing sward was effective enough to stabilize these effects.

KW - Grassland

KW - Soil compaction

KW - Soil loosening

KW - Soil structure

KW - Sward lifting

U2 - 10.1016/j.still.2018.07.013

DO - 10.1016/j.still.2018.07.013

M3 - Article

VL - 184

SP - 317

EP - 325

JO - Soil & Tillage Research

JF - Soil & Tillage Research

SN - 0167-1987

ER -