Influence of Liming and K Fertilization on the Nutrition of Sugarcane and Demodium Species

Misra, Mahesh Kumar
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Growth and Ca, K, Al and Mn concentration of Desmodium species and sugarcane were studied in relation to the ar1ounts of lime and K added to four Hawaii soils. Sugarcane took up little (about 150 ppm) Al and usually relatively little Mn. As a result growth was usually independent of soil pH. Indications are that sugarcane can take up adequate amounts Ca from highly weathered soils at low levels of Ca saturation. Thus liming highly weathered soils to supply Ca for sugarcane need not be based on soil pH or percentage of the exchange complex saturated with Ca. Available Ca in the root zone is probably a more realistic criterion on which to base liming recommendations in this case. For soils which are very high in Mn (such as the Lahaina soil) liming to decrease Mn uptake in sugarcane may be desirable. In this case soil pH may be a suitable criterion for making lime recommendations. Desmodium can accumulate large amounts of Mn. Plants growing on acid Lahaina soil contained Mn in excess of 12,000 ppm and only high rates of lime appreciably decreased Mn uptake from this soil. Indications were that t-m in excess of about 1000 ppm was highly toxic. Aluminum may also have been present in toxic concentrations in Desmodium plants. Soil pH control to eliminate toxicities of Al and Mn are suggested as essential management practices. Desmodium accumulated large amounts of Ca (up to 3.5%) which demonstrates that tropical legumes are not necessarily poor in Ca. Furthermore, Desmodium was able to extract Ca even when the soils were at very low percentage Ca saturation. An attempt to use free energy of exchange as a means for evaluating K:Ca balance was not successful. In some instances good growth was obtained within the range of values which had been suggested by Woodruff as being favorable. However, in some cases good growth was obtained at values in excess of those believed to be favorable.
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