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Legumes in prairie restoration: evidence for wide cross-nodulation and improved inoculant delivery

Plant and Soil

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-013-1999-z

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Abstract

Background and aims

Prairie restoration aims to create self-sustaining, resilient prairies that ameliorate biodiversity loss and soil deterioration associated with conversion of native grasslands to agriculture. Legumes are a key component of the nitrogen-limited prairie ecosystem. Evidence suggests that lack of suitable rhizobia may explain legume absence from restored prairies. This study explores effects of novel alternative inoculant delivery methods on: (a) prairie legume establishment, (b) soil biological properties, and (c) inoculant strain ability to nodulate the host over time.


Methods

Alternative inoculation methods for seven legume species were tested in a replicated field experiment. Legume establishment, microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, and rhizobial inoculant strain recovery were measured over a 3-year period.


Results

Legume species richness in the second growing season was enhanced by a soil-applied granular clay inoculant, while seed-applied powdered peat inoculation was generally ineffective. When Dalea rhizobia were recovered 3-year after planting, only 2 % from the seed-applied inoculation treatment identified with the inoculant strains, whereas this amount ranged from 53 to 100 % in the other inoculation treatments. Some legumes established unexpectedly effective symbioses with strains not originally intended for them.


Conclusions

Results provide new insights on inoculation of native legumes, especially when a mix of seeds is involved and the restoration targets harsh environments.

Study Area

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Legumes in prairie restoration: evidence for wide cross-nodulation and improved inoculant delivery
Series title:
Plant and Soil
DOI:
10.1007/s11104-013-1999-z
Volume
377
Issue:
1-2
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description:
14 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Plant and Soil
First page:
245
Last page:
258
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota
City:
Becker