Magnesia, after it has been used to remove excess boron (B) from irrigation waters, could be amended to acid soils as a liming material. However, B phytotoxicity is a potential hazard. The objective of the study was to evaluate the use of B-laden magnesia as an amendment for acid soils. Three inorganic, loamy, acid soils were used. Magnesia, after saturation with 2 mg B g1, was added to the three acid soils as follows: 0.5 and 1.5 g kg1 in the two less acidic soils (pH 5.9 and 5.3) plus an additional rate of 2.5 g kg1 for the most acidic soil (pH 4.7). Control soil samples received no magnesia. The treated and control soils were then used in a greenhouse study for cultivation of corn (Zea mays L.). Although the original soils contained low levels of available B, the potential risk of causing B phytotoxicity because of magnesia addition was high because more than 43% of the total B desorbed from the magnesia was released instantly in the treated soils. With the application rates of 0.5 and 1.5 g kg1, the corn total biomass yield significantly increased (P ≤ 0.01) by 9 to 33% and 7 to 18%, respectively. In addition, soil pH was improved (e.g., it increased by 2.2 to 2.7 units with the application rate of 1.5 g kg1), and B and Mg concentrations in the soil and corn significantly increased (P ≤ 0.01) to approximate sufficiency ranges. In contrast, the 2.5–g kg1 addition to the most acidic soil resulted in a significant decrease of corn yield, which was accompanied by a significant increase of soil-available B at levels greater than 2 mg kg1. The B in the corn tissues was at phytotoxic levels (123 mg kg1). It was concluded that, for acid soils similar to those used in this study, addition of B-laden magnesia at a rate of 0.5 g kg1 (equivalent to 2 Mg ha1) could be recommended for liming.
Soil Science Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Address for correspondence: Dr. Theodora Matsi, Soil Science Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece. E-mail: email@example.com
Financial Disclosures/Conflicts of Interest: None reported.
Received October 18, 2013.
Accepted for publication February 18, 2014.