Despite the presence of a huge amount of potassium (K+) in the soil, most of the soils are deficient in plantavailable K+. A large amount of the K+ is fixed by clay minerals present in such soils and cannot be taken up byplants to achieve optimum plant growth. In such type of soils, large amount of K+ fertilizers are required foroptimum plant growth, as plants do not respond enough to a normally recommended K+ fertilization.Vermiculite clay minerals can fix an enormous amount of applied K+, which becomes slowly available to theplants. The K+ dynamics in such soils are valuable to recommend K+ fertilizer requirements for sustainablenutrient management. We analyzed the K+ dynamics of three alluvial soils, i.e Kleinlinden, Giessen and Trebur,collected from Germany and found that the soils with vermiculite and smectite clay minerals have more K+-fixing ability than soils dominated by illite clay minerals. However, as the K+ concentration decreased in thesoil solution, smectite-dominant soils may easily release fixed K+ due to lower particle-charge, whereasvermiculite and illite dominant soils may not release fixed K+ easily. Moreover, ammonium exchangeable K+,non-exchangeable K+, total K+ and K+-fixing capacity of these soils are directly proportional to the soil claycontents. While recommending K+ fertilizers clay contents and the type of clay minerals is not considered andrecommended K+ fertilizers sometimes do not response plant growth enhancement. Therefore potassiumfertilizer should be recommended by taking into consideration the type and amount of clay minerals present inthe soil.
Alluvial soils, Clay, Electro-ultra-filtration, K+
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