In a study published in Land Degradation & Development, Assoc. Prof. ZHANG Hongxiang from Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and her collaborators studied the role of nitrogen (N) to emergence and growth of important forages Leymus chinensis (L. chinensis) and Medicago sativa (M. sativa) in saline soils.
Using a 2×2×3×3 (2 forages, 3 salt solutions, 3 nitrogen solutions, 2 sowing conditions) factorial design, the researchers found that nitrogen addition and mixed sowing significantly increased germination rate and seedling height of L. chinensis, but not Medicago sativa.
Besides, they found a new mechanism in the mixed community that M. sativa absorb Na+ and form a ‘micro-bioremediation’ environment around the grass, thus increasing germination and growth of L. chinensis.
Successful establishment is a key determinant for cultivation of plants in degraded saline soils. This study provides important information for grass-legume mixed pasture establishment in degraded saline soils, which helps to achieve the sustainable use and improvement of degraded saline soils.
52 Sanlihe Rd., Xicheng District,
Beijing, China (100864)