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Effects of moderate and high rates of biochar and compost on grapevine growth in a greenhouse experiment

1 Grape and Wine Institute, Division of Plant Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA
2 Present address: Constellation Brands Inc., Prosser, WA, USA
3 Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
4 Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Biochar is used as soil amendment and enhancer of plant growth, but the mechanisms involved in grapevine are not understood. In this study, the short-term effects of amendments were evaluated in a trial combining three substrates (biochar, compost, peat-based media) with three doses (30, 70, 100%) along a time sequence on 1-year-old bare root cuttings of grapevine. Amendments were analyzed for elemental composition. Soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC), chlorophyll (CHL), flavonoids (FL), anthocyans (ANT) and nitrogen balance index (NBI) were measured.
Biochar differed from other amendments for stable C structures, where nutrients and lignin residues were high in compost. Biochar increased soil pH, whereas biochar plus compost mixture augmented EC. The amended plants had detrimental effects on root, true and lateral leaves. Nevertheless, at the lowest rate biochar increased the primary shoot and total scion to root biomass ratio. Among biochemicals, ANT and NBI were mostly affected by biochar, while compost gave only slight increments. Thus, although biochar rate was not adequate for the shedding in open field our results suggest that biochar might be useful in nursery when used at low dosages.
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Keywords biostimulant; stable C structures; primary shoot biomass

Citation: Arianna Bozzolo, Diego Pizzeghello, Alessandra Cardinali, Ornella Francioso, Serenella Nardi. Effects of moderate and high rates of biochar and compost on grapevine growth in a greenhouse experiment. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 2017, 2(1): 113-128. doi: 10.3934/agrfood.2017.1.113

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