Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 24  2012 August p.  1343-1348

Effects of severing oil palm roots on leaf nutrient levels and P uptake

Author(s): LIEW Voon Kheong * ; ZAHARAH A Rahman ** ; MOHAMED HANAFI Musa ** ; AMINUDIN Hussein **

Physical damage to oil palm roots affects the palm’s ability to acquire nutrients. In spite of this huge impact on the palm, the effects of root loss on palm nutrient status are unknown and this is unfortunate because optimal palm nutrient status is an important factor in fruit production.

In trying to understand the effects of damage to the roots and the consequent effects on the palms, the impact of root damage was simulated by severing roots within 0%, 25% and 50% of the palm circle. Five months after the roots were severed, changes in leaf nutrient levels in the various treatments were observed. Each treatment was replicated five times, using one palm per replicate.

The impact of losing 25% of the roots within the palm circle changed the leaf K concentration and also the N:K ratio significantly (p < 0.05) compared with a loss of 50% of the roots within the palm circle. However, palms which lost 25% and 50% of the roots within the palm circle did not show any significant change (p> 0.05) in the N, P, Mg and B leaf concentrations compared to control.

Further assessment of the impact of root loss on nutrient uptake by the palm, especially by the surviving tertiary roots, was made using 32P isotope. Five surviving tertiary roots from each treatment were placed in contact with the 32P solution, and the amount of isotope absorbed by the palms from the various treatments over a fixed time was measured. No difference in the amount of the isotope absorbed was observed.

Keywords: , , ,

Author Information
* D1 Oils Plant Science, Suite 1606, Arthaloka Building, 18th Floor, J1. Jend. Sudirman kav.2, Jakarta, Indonesia.

** Department of Land Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.

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