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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 4, p. 581-586

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Fertilizing the Subsoil for Better Water Utilization1

  1. Helmut Kohnke and
  2. A. R. Bertrand2



Subsoil fertilization experiments were conducted on several Indiana soils. The fertilizer was applied in vertical bands from 7 to 20 inches deep. The distance between the bands varied between 28 and 48 inches.

The growth of corn roots greatly increased as a result of subsoil fertilization; subsoiling without fertilizing the subsoil increases root growth only slightly. Subsoil that was chiseled and fertilized maintained a higher porosity for over 2 years. The reason for the difference is probably the presence of additional organic matter (roots and microbes) in the fertilized subsoil.

The subsoiled areas generally contained more moisture than the untreated plots, pointing to less runoff and erosion and to a greater water supply for the crops.

Yield increases from subsoil fertilization have been substantial in many cases, but not consistent. It is assumed that benefits from this practice will increase as it is repeated on the same area.

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