Plant species can affect soil properties and processes in a number of ways. Nutrient uptake and loss, production and quality of litter and exudates will in different ways affect soil chemistry and biological activity.
A field study has been devoted to investigate if there are differences in soil chemistry between closely adjacent soil patches, with or with out a ground flora and to what extent. The study also aimed to look at seasonal variation in soil chemistry and comparing two different life forms of plants. Sampling of material was performed in a mature European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forest with a ground flora purely of Deschampsia flexuosa or Anemone nemorosa, in the northwestern part of Scania, Southern Sweden. The soil was acidic with pH (H2O)-values below 4.5.
The results in the area with Deschampsia flexuosa show over the year that both NH4-N and NO3-N concentrations are at highest in spring and decrease in late summer and autumn. In the autumn the NO3-N concentrations were not detectable. Independent of season, the NH4-N concentrations in grass covered soil was markedly lower compared to bare soil. The results can be ascribed to a great nitrogen uptake by the grass. In the Anemone nemorosa area a difference in soil NH4-N concentration depending on presence on ground flora is only shown in the spring, the time of flowering. The nitrogen uptake by ground flora prevent leaching to lower soil layers in the profile and out of the soil system, Deschampsia flexuosa over the hole year and Anemone nemorosa in the spring.
Keywords: Soil chemistry, Nitrogen, Fagus sylvatica, Ground flora, Deschampsia flexousa, Anemone nemorosa.