Phosphorus in an arable coarse sandy soil profile after 74 years with different lime and P fertilizer applications

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The distribution of fertilizer phosphorus (P) in the soil profile affects its plant availability and the risk of P loss. We examined the P distribution and sorption in soil profiles of a field experiment initiated in 1942 on coarse sandy soil with four rates of lime (0, 4, 8 or 12 t ha−1 every 5–9 years) and two rates of P (no P or 15.6 kg P ha−1 annually). In 2016, intact soil cores were retrieved to 100 cm depth and divided into five depth intervals (0–20, 20–30, 30–50, 50–70 and 70–100 cm). Soil samples were analyzed for total P, P extracted with sodium bicarbonate (Olsen P) and water (Pw), oxalate-extractable P (Pox), iron (Feox) and aluminum (Alox), pH, carbon (C), and single point sorption index (PSI). Liming raised soil pH significantly at all depths. Addition of P increased total P, Olsen P, Pw and Pox in the upper 30 cm only. In the topsoil the extractability of P in bicarbonate (Olsen P to total P ratio) and water (Pw to total P ratio) declined with liming. Below 30 cm, soil P pools were unaffected by lime and P application. PSI increased with depth until 50–70 cm and related strongly to content of Alox, but not to Feox, Olsen P, soil C and pH. We conclude that Alox plays a dominating role for retention of P in this sandy soil profile, formed by melt-water during the Weichsel glaciation period. The retention of P in soil below 30 cm depth was strong and unaffected by addition of lime.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114555
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

    Research areas

  • Adsorption, Liming, Phosphorus sorption index, Soil pH, Soil profile

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