The use of straw as a soil amendment is a common practice for providing
nutrients to crops and conserving soil and water. However, it can lead
to negative effects on the soil environment and crop yield. The
objective of this research was to determine the effect of straw and
biochar amendment on the root system morphology and above-ground biomass
of a red clover/grass mixture. Straw was collected from miscanthus and
winter wheat and biochar was produced from the biomass of those species.
The following treatments were applied: wheat straw at a rate of 5 t
ha-1, miscanthus straw at a rate of 5 t ha-1, wheat biochar at a rate of
5 t ha-1 (WBH), wheat biochar at a rate of 2.25 t ha-1 , miscanthus
biochar at a rate of 5 t ha-1 (MBH), and miscanthus biochar at a rate of
2.25 t ha-1 . A treatment with mineral fertilizer but without organic
amendments was used, and a control treatment without amendments and
mineral was also tested. The botanical composition, root morphology
parameters and the aboveground yields were determined. The soil
amendments resulted in increased root lengths, surface areas, volumes
and mean root diameters. There were no differences between the
treatments with different feedstock types (miscanthus vs. wheat),
materials (straw vs. biochar) or amendment rates (5 vs. 2.25 t ha-1).
The resulting root system characteristics were reflected in the
aboveground biomass productivity. However, these differences were
noticed only during the first and second cuts.