Spatial and temporal variation in soil Mn2 was observed over a 12-month period at two field sites near Gerogery and Binalong in southern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Three pot experiments were then conducted to emulate the range of soil Mn2 concentrations observed in the field and to determine the effect of different concentrations on lucerne and subterranean clover seedling growth, as well as to determine the effect of heating a soil on pH and Mn2 concentrations. Concentrations of soil Mn2 in the surface 0.20 m varied at a given sampling date by up to 288% (2.5–9.7 µg/mL) and 183% (8.7–24.6 µg/mL) across the Gerogery and Binalong field sites, respectively. At both sites, the concentration of soil Mn2 in a given plot also varied by up to 175% between sampling times. There was little consistency between sites for seasonal fluctuations of soil Mn2 , although in both instances, peaks occurred during months in which newly sown lucerne plants might be emerging in southern NSW. Pot experiments revealed that high concentrations of soil Mn2 reduced lucerne seedling survival by 35%, and on seedlings that did survive, reduced shoot growth by 19% and taproot length by 39%. Elevated concentrations of soil Mn2 also reduced subterranean clover seedling survival by up to 55% and taproot length by 25%, although there were few effects on subterranean clover in treatments other than those imposing the highest soil Mn2 concentrations. The third pot experiment demonstrated that elevated soil temperatures led to increased soil pH and increased soil Mn2 concentrations, attributable to a decrease in biological oxidation of soil Mn2 . This was in contrast to the commonly anticipated response of a decline in soil Mn2 concentrations as soil pH increased.
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