AS  Vol.4 No.8 A , August 2013
Nitrogen movement in coarse-textured soils and its availability to maize (Zea mays L.) plant

Nitrogen (N) is the most important determinant nutrient for plant growth and crop yield. Plants lacking N show stunted growth and yellowish leaves. Plant growth and crop yield usually increase when N is added. However, too much N leads to weak stems in grain crops (lodging) which result into low yield. The aim of the study was to delineate changes of N concentration, its direction of movement and its pattern of disposition in the soil as influenced by amount of applied water and nitrogen so as to reduce N losses and maximise its absorption by maize roots.The study was conducted during irrigation seasons of 2011 and 2012 at Nkango Irrigation Scheme, Malawi. The trials consisted of factorial arrangement in a Randomised Complete Block Design (RCBD). The factors were water and N and both were at four levels. The Triscan Sensor was used to measure total N concentration at different vertical and lateral points. The study inferred that changes of N concentration, its direction of movement and its pattern of disposition in the soil are influenced by water flux and absorption rate of plants roots due to gradient created by absorption. The study noted that when N is in low supply, its movement towards maize roots is greatly influenced by diffusion. The study concluded that to maximise N absorption by maize roots, the point of N application should be at5 cmaway from the planting station to minimise N losses through drifting away from the maize rooting zone.

Cite this paper: Mthandi, J. , Kahimba, F. , Tarimo, A. , Salim, B. and Lowole, M. (2013) Nitrogen movement in coarse-textured soils and its availability to maize (Zea mays L.) plant. Agricultural Sciences, 4, 30-35. doi: 10.4236/as.2013.48A005.

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