Soil salinization poses severe threats to grassland ecosystems in various parts of the world, including the Songnen Plain in northeast China. Severe impairment of plant growth in this soil is generally attributed to high soil pH, total alkalinity, and sodium (Na) contents. This paper focuses on the ecological stoichiometry of microelements, which has received much less attention than relations of macroelements, in the soil and plants (specifically Leymus chinensis) growing in it. The results show that the soil’s manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni) and molybdenum (Mo) contents are lower than average in Chinese soils, but only Mn and Zn are severely deficient in L. chinensis. With increases in soil pH, total alkalinity, and Na, the Mo contents in both soil and L. chinensis slightly increase, while contents of the other microelements decline. Homeostasis indices obtained for the six microelements—and Fe/Zn, Fe/Ni, Fe/Cu, and Cu/Zn ratios—were all between 0.82 and 3.34 (ranging from just below the “plastic” threshold to “weakly homeostatic”). Despite Zn deficiency in the soil, Zn appears to have the highest homeostasis of the six elements in L. chinensis (homeostasis indices of Zn, Cu, Ni, Mn, Fe and Mo were 3.34, 2.54, 1.86, 1.76, 1.52, and 1.33, respectively). In addition, the Cu/Zn ratio had the highest homeostasis index (1.85), followed by Fe/Zn (1.02), Fe/Cu (0.95) and Fe/Ni (0.82). Appropriate application of Mn and Zn fertilizers is recommended to promote the growth and development of L. chinensis in soda saline-alkali soil.
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