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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Fertility

Soil Properties and Clover Establishment Six Years after Surface Application of Calcium-Rich By-Products


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 96 No. 6, p. 1531-1539
    Received: June 19, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): Dale.Ritchey@ars.usda.gov
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  1. K. D. Ritchey *,
  2. D. P. Belesky and
  3. J. J. Halvorson
  1. Appalachian Farming Syst. Res. Cent., USDA-ARS, 1224 Airport Road, Beaver, WV 25813


Calcium-rich soil amendments can improve plant growth by supplying Ca and reducing detrimental effects of soil acidity, but solubility and neutralizing capacity of Ca sources vary. Our objectives were to evaluate effects of calcitic dolomite and several coal combustion by-products on soil properties at various depths 6 yr after surface application and their influence on grass–clover herbage accumulation. Calcium and Mg soil amendments were surface-applied to an acidic grassland in 1993, and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbyshire] were oversown in 1994. In 1998, amendment treatment plots were split to accommodate sod seeding with red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) or white clover (T. repens L.) as well as a nonseeded control. No N fertilizer was applied after sod seeding. Six years after amendment application, reductions in soil Al and Mn and increases in Ca and pH from 4654 kg ha−1 calcitic dolomite, 15000 kg ha−1 fluidized bed combustion residue, or 526 kg ha−1 MgO amendment were greatest in the surface 2.5 cm while rates of gypsum as high as 32000 kg ha−1 left little residual effect except for decreases in Mg. Percentage clover in the sward tripled as pH increased from 4.3 to 5.0 while herbage mass increased 75% as clover percentage increased. Herbage mass was generally more closely correlated with properties of soil samples collected from the surface 2.5 cm than from deeper samples.

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