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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effect of Added Salts on Nitrogen Release and Nitrate Levels in Forest Soils of the Washington Coastal Area1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 4, p. 778-782
    Received: Oct 7, 1974
    Accepted: Feb 27, 1975

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  1. Paul Heilman2



The release and mineralization of N was studied in incubated samples of 10 forested soils from the Washington Coast which had been treated with a variety of salts. Salts were added in solution at 0.005, 0.05, and 0.2M concentrations and the samples were incubated at 27C for 7, 14, and 21 days. Release of NH4-N plus NO3-N increased with increase in the duration of incubation and concentration. The lowest concentration of salt increased N release over that from distilled water. The order of the effect of salts on release of N was AlCl3 > CaCl2 > KCl > K2SO4 > K2CO3 > K2HPO4.

At the lowest concentration, salts had little effect on nitrate levels, but at higher concentrations, nitrification was reduced in all soils by chloride salts. Nitrification was also reduced by K2SO4 but the reduction was evident only at the highest concentration. In contrast, nitrification was increased in the majority of these soils by K2CO3 at the two higher concentrations and by K2HPO4 at the highest concentration. Of the four soils in which nitrification was not increased, three had the highest nitrification capability of all soils studied, as evidenced by the high levels of nitrate produced when incubated with water.

Implications of the study concern the influence of fertilizers, lime, and ash from burning on availability of native soil N and formation of nitrate, and the effect in these soils of different N fertilizers on mineralization of soil N and nitrate levels.

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