The Effect of Legume Species Grown as Cover Crops in Olive Orchards on Soil Phosphorus Bioavailability uri icon


  • Some legume species are able to utilize phosphorus (P) from sparingly soluble P sources benefiting companion crops or those following in the rotation. Lupinus albus, Vicia villosa, and a mixture of eleven annual pasture legumes were used in olive orchards as mulched cover crops as a means of increasing the soil P availability. By soil testing and growing bioindicator P plants in the next season, it was possible to detect a slight but consistent increase in soil P availability. The results indicated that the increase in soil P availability was mainly due to the mineralization of the high P content legume residues, rather than the direct effect in the rhizosphere of the living plants. The results also suggested that the good adaptation of white lupine to low P environments might be due to a high internal P use efficiency of this species, producing high dry matter yields with low P concentration in their tissues.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015