The effect of soil compaction on the growth of Lolium multiflora and Trifolium pratense

Achim Ellies S.1, Carlos Ramírez G.1, Roberto Mac Donald H.1, Heriberto Figueroa S.1 y Jorge Gayoso A.1

The effect of experimentalsoil compaction represented by the bulk density in the development of aerial and terrestrial biomass of red clover (Trifolium pratense) and ryegrass (Lolium multiflora) was studied. The superficial layers of two Palehumults (Metrenco and Fresia series) and á Hapludands (Malihue series) were used in five grades of compactness. The crops were grown in drawers under natural conditions and with irrigation during four months. After harvesting, the aerial and root biomass, the root length and direction development were registered. The aerial phytomass of clover decreases as compactness increases, especially in the Malihue soil. The was not clear reduction of growth in the ryegrass. There depth reachad by clover roots was lesser with an increase of bulk density. In ryegrass it was not possible to find a relation between root growth and compactness. The clover in the Fresia and Metrenco soils dominate a horizontal growth pattern with the increase of bulk density. But in the Malihue soil a slight opposite tendency was observed. For ryegrass no pattern was found with the compactness.

Keywords: red clover, Trifolium pratense, ryegrass, Lolium multiflora, pasture, soil, compactness, root growth.
1 Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile.