The effect of wood ash on the soil properties and nutrition and growth of Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla grown on a sandy coastal soil in Zululand

Scheepers, Gerhardus Petrus (2014-12)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: A field trial of six replications was established to test the effect of various wood ash and fertilisers application rates on soil chemistry, tree nutrition and early growth rate of a clonal Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla stand. Wood ash from pulpmills is currently disposed of in landfills. Increasing costs and potential environmental risks have driven companies to investigate alternative disposal methods. Ash consists of a combination of carbonates, hydroxides and other calcium containing minerals that induce the liming effect if ash is applied to a soil. The trial was established near Richards Bay in October 2013 on a sandy soil with a low buffer capacity and a pH of approximately 5.5. The trial consists of four wood ash application rates in combination with three levels of fertiliser, viz. no fertiliser, 150 g conventional NPK fertiliser mixture, or 320g NPK controlled release mixture. Fertiliser mixtures and application levels were based on previous fertiliser trials in the region. Ash application rates for the field trial were based on a lab incubation study done with soil samples from Richards Bay, to which increasing amounts of lime were added. The study tested wood ash application rates of 0, 300, 600 and 1200 kg/ha. Field measurements were taken at 4 and 8 months after trial establishment. The primary objective was to investigate which application levels in combination with the type of fertiliser could be applied to soils without negatively affecting the stand nutrition or increase the levels of potentially harmful elements in the soil; thus investigating the feasibility of safely disposing wood ash on plantation soils as an alternative disposal method. Soil nutrient concentrations were not affected by individual wood ash treatments, but more a product of the time interval after the ash additions were made. Soil C, P, K+ and Mg2+ showed decreased concentrations from 4-8 months after establishment. Ca2+ concentrations increased in the same time interval. In addition, Na+ and B concentrations decreased from 4-8 months. Soil heavy metal concentrations for Cd, Hg, Cr and Pb, analysed for 0-1200 kg/ha ash rates, were well below toxic levels at both time intervals. Wood ash induced a temporary liming effect. Mean soil pH increased with 0.6 units for the period 0 - 4 months and decreased with 0.4 units at 4 - 8 months after trial establishment. Foliar nutrient analyses and assessment techniques revealed sub-optimal nutrient concentrations for P, K and Zn at 4 and 8 months of age. Concentrations were defined as sub-optimal, as none of the nutrients were below critical levels. Foliar heavy metal concentrations for Cd, Hg, Cr and Pb, measured at both time intervals, were less than 1mg/kg. The small concentrations found in this project were attributed to the low bioavailability of all four elements and were likely a product of the edaphic factors at Richards Bay, which was representative of a large greater portion of the Zululand coastal plain sites. The response in biomass index ranged between 13 % and 683 % relative to the control treatment (A0F0). Results showed that application of purely wood ash, or in combination with a supplementary N and P source increased growth up to 8 months after trial establishment for wood ash applications up to 1200 kg/ha. This project demonstrated that 1200 kg/ha wood ash can safely be disposed of on a typical Zululand coastal sand with little environmental risk and no supressed growth, provided that it is balanced with an appropriate NP fertiliser.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: ‘n Veldproef met ses herhalings is in Oktober 2013 uitgelê met die doel om die uitwerking van verskillende vlakke hout as en kunsmis toedienings op die grond-voedingstof status, boom-voedingstof status en die groei-tempo van ‘n Eucalyptus grandis x urophylla hibried plantasie te bestudeer. Hout as by pulpmeulens word tans weggegooi op stortingsterreine. Toenemende onkostes vir storting en die omgewingsrisiko’s gebonde aan stortingsterreine, dryf maatskappye om verbeterde en meer omgewingsvriendelike metodes te ondersoek om van die as ontslae te raak. Hout as bestaan uit ‘n reeks karbonate, hidroksiede en kalsium bevattende minerale en is verantwoordelik vir die bekalkingseffek op die grond na toediening. Die veldproef is geleë naby Richardsbaai op ‘n sanderige grond met n lae bufferkapasiteit en pH van ongeveer 5.5. Die proef het vier hout as vlakke getoets, gekombineer met drie vlakke van bemesting: geen, 150g konvensionele landbou kunsmis (CV) óf 320g beheerd-vrystellende kunmis (CRF). Die kunsmismengsels en vlakke van bemesting is gebaseer op bestaande of voltooide bemestingseksperimente in die streek. Hout as vlakke was bereken in gekontroleerde laboratorium toestande en gebaseer op ‘n inkubasie studie met grond monsters verkry vanaf Richardsbaai, waarby toenemende vlakke suiwer landboukalk gevoeg is. Die veldproef het hout as vlakke van 0, 300, 600 en 1200 kg/ha getoets. Veld metings is op 4 en 8 maande na behandeling geneem. Die primêre doelwit van die studie was om te bepaal watter vlak hout as en kunmis kombinasie toegedien kan word, sonder om die grond-voedingstof status negatief te beïnvloed of ‘n potensiële skadelike uitwerking op die plantasie groei te veroorsaak. Die uiteinde van die studie was om die haalbaarheid van hout as toedienings op plantasie gronde te bestudeer relatief tot die huidige praktyk van storting, insluitend die risiko van moontlike skadelike newe-effekte. Grondvoedingstatus was nie beduidend beïnvloed deur individuele hout as toevoegings nie, maar was eerder ‘n funksie van die tydsduur sedert behandeling. Grond koolstof, P anione, K+ en Mg2+ konsentrasies het beduidend afgeneem in die periode van 4 - 8 maande na behandling. Die Ca2+ konsentrasies het toegeneem tussen 4 en 8 maande en terselfdertyd het Na+ en B konsentrasies afgeneem. Die swaarmetaal status, spesifiek vir Cd, Hg, Cr en Pb, vir toevoegings van 0-1200 kg/ha hout as was beduidend laer as toelaatbare vlakke in gronde op albei tydsintervalle. Die hout as het ‘n tydelike toename in grond pH veroorsaak. Die gemiddelde pH het tussen 0 - 4 maande toegeneem met 0.6 eenhede en gedurende 4 - 8 maande afgeem met 0.4 eenhede. Blaarontledings en voedingstof assesseringsmetodes het sub-optimale konsentrasies vir P, K en Zn getoon op die ouderdom van 4 en 8 maande. Voedingstof konsentrasies is as sub-optimaal geklassifiseer, omdat konsentrasies nooit laer as kritieke waardes vir gebreksimptome was nie. Die inhoud van Cd, Hg, Cr en Pb in blare was aansienlik kleiner as 1 mg/kg op albei tydsintervalle. Die merkwaardige lae konsentrasies wat in die projek aangeteken is, word toegekryf aan die lae bio-beskikbaarheid van al vier elemente as gevolg van die edafiese faktore eie aan die Richardsbaai omgewing (en ook aan groot dele van die Zoeloelandse kusvlakte). Die groeireaksie (bepaal as biomassa indeks op ouderdom 8 maande) het gewissel van 13 % - 683 % groter as die kontrole behandeling (A0F0). Resultate het bewys dat toedienings van suiwer hout as, of hout as gekombineer met ‘n addisionele N en P kunsmisbron die groei postief beïnvloed tot op die ouderdom van 8 maande. Die studie het bewys dat 1200 kg/ha hout as veilig toegedien kan word op die sandgronde van die kusgebiede in Zululand, met minimale omgewingsrisiko en geen tekens onderdrukte groei nie, mits dit gebalanseer word met ‘n geskikte NP kunsmisbron.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96019
This item appears in the following collections: