Effects of clay mineralogy and physico-chemical properties on potassium availability under soil aquic conditions
Aquic conditions performed for paddy cultivation may cause many nutritional problems. Clay mineralogical composition plays an important role in this relation by affecting many physico-chemical and biological characteristics of soils. Three forms of K including unavailable, slowly available and readily available K, exist in equilibrium in the soil system. Relationships between soil potassium forms with the clay mineralogical suite and physico-chemical properties were determined in 33 soil samples collected from five from paddy soils, two from kiwi fruit and one from citrus land pedons in the North of Iran. Mineralogical analyses showed that smectite, illite and vermiculite were the most abundant clay minerals in the studied soils. Mean soluble and exchangeable potassium in paddy soils were rather low compared to non-paddy soils due to potassium fertilization in non-paddy soils. Non-exchangeable potassium in the samples containing smectite as dominant clay mineral was lower than the samples dominated by vermiculite, hydroxy-interlayer vermiculite (HIV) and illite. Inability of the studied soils for potassium fixation was related to prevailed montmorillonitic type of smectite, which its layer charge originates from octahedral sheet. Significant correlations (0.56**, 0.54**, 0.56**) were obtained between exchangeable potassium and clay content, organic carbon and cation exchange capacity respectively. Therefore, taking into account both exchangeable and non-exchangeable K beside clay mineralogy and physico-chemical properties gives better indications for K potential and soil-quality management, compared to exchangeable form of K alone.