Effects of sulfur on yield and plant sulfur of subterranean clover Public Deposited

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  • Subterranean clover was grown in nutrient solution and S deficient Steiwer soil in the greenhouse. Plants were harvested at 15, 30, 45 and 60 days after emergence. When subterranean clover was grown in nutrient solution significant yield response to each increment of added sulfate (SO₄-S) occurred in 15, 30, 45 and 60 day old plants. Yield response to SO₄-S fertilized Steiwer soil also occurred at each rate of applied gypsum except in the 15 day old plants. The increase in yield of subterranean clover grown in the nutrient solution due to added SO₄-S was similar for plants of different ages compared with the control. In the Steiwer soil the highest percentage yield increase due to added SO₄-S was in 45 day old plants. The plant S content decreased as the plant matured in both nutrient solution and in the Steiwer soil. In the nutrient solution the correlation coefficients for plant S content in the tops with subterranean clover yield increase at all stages of maturity were highly significant. The correlation coefficients were 0.952, 0.908, 0.729, 0.997 for 15 to 60 day old plants respectively. In the Steiwer soil the correlation coefficient of 0.99 for plant S content in the tops with yield increase was highly significant for both 15 and 30 day old plants. As subterranean clover matured SO₄-S content in plants grown in nutrient solution decreased except at the high level of S. However SO₄-S in Steiwer grown plants remained rather constant. There was a significant correlation (0.99 and 0.95) between plant SO₄-S and yield increase in 15 and 60 day old plants grown in nutrient solution. A similar significant correlation (0.829) occurred with 30 day old plants grown in the Steiwer soil. The critical plant S content of subterranean clover ranged between 1.2 to 1.8 mg. S/g. of dry matter, while critical plant SO₄-S between 375 to 458 ppm. The critical plant N-S ratio ranged between 9.2:1 to 13.3:1. At a rate equivalent to 40 lbs. S/acre some evidence of S mineralization occurred as the result of the addition of gypsum to the Steiwer soil.
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