Soil biology and nitrogen dynamics of vineyard soils as affected by a mature biowaste compost application.
Biowaste compost is frequently used in German viticulture to improve soil physical characteristics and to replace soil organic matter losses. A monitoring program was carried out to investigate the effect of a mature biowaste compost application on soil biology and soil mineral N dynamics. At four vineyard sites in southern Germany, compost was applied at two different rates in a random block design with four replicates. Soil mineral N, soil microbial biomass and soil respiration were observed over a period of three years. At three of the four investigated sites, the compost application induced a priming effect, leading to mineral N contents of between 87 and 440 kg N ha-1 shortly after the amendment. During the investigation period, the pattern of N mineralization and translocation in all soils otherwise followed common rules which are governed by environmental conditions. Due to the priming effect, the N release from the compost was sufficient to cover the vine’s N demand for the first and second year after application at three of the four vineyard sites. In the third year, a mineral N fertilizer application would have been required. High soil mineral N contents as a consequence of the priming effect may be exposed to leaching and denitrification.
Nendel, C.; Reuter, R. 2007. Soil biology and nitrogen dynamics of vineyard soils as affected by a mature biowaste compost application. Compost Science and Utilization 15 (2), 70-77.