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Influence of root and leaf traits on the uptake of nutrients in cover crops

Influence of root and leaf traits on the uptake of nutrients in cover crops

Wendling, Marina, Büchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176, Amossé, Camille, Sinaj, Sokrat, Walter, Achim and Charles, Raphaël (2016) Influence of root and leaf traits on the uptake of nutrients in cover crops. Plant and Soil, 409 (1-2). pp. 419-434. ISSN 0032-079X (Print), 1573-5036 (Online) (doi:

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Aims: Cover crops play an important role in soil fertility as they can accumulate large amounts of nutrients. This study aimed at understanding the nutrient uptake capacity of a wide range of cover crops and at assessing the relevance of acquisition strategies. Methods: A field experiment was conducted to characterize 20 species in terms of leaf and root traits. Plant traits were related to nutrient concentration and shoot biomass production with a redundancy analysis. Acquisition strategies were identified using a cluster analysis. Results: Root systems varied greatly among cover crop species. Five nutrient acquisition strategies were delineated. Significant amounts of nutrients (about 120 kg ha−1 of nitrogen, 30 kg ha−1 of phosphorus and 190 kg ha−1 of potassium) were accumulated by the species in a short period. Nutrient acquisition strategies related to high accumulations of nutrients consisted in either high shoot biomass and root mass and dense tissues, or high nutrient concentrations and root length densities. Species with high root length densities showed lower C/N ratios. Conclusions: The same amounts of nutrients were accumulated by groups with different acquisition strategies. However, their nutrient concentrations offer different perspectives in terms of nutrient release for the subsequent crop and nutrient cycling improvement.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2016. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nutrient acquisition strategies, Aboveground biomass, Nutrient concentration, Nutrient accumulation, Catch crops
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 09:51

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