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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Fate of Fertilizer Nitrate Applied to Coastal Bermudagrass on a Swelling Clay Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 42 No. 1, p. 77-80
    Received: July 18, 1977
    Accepted: Sept 7, 1977

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  1. D. E. Kissel and
  2. S. J. Smith2



The purpose of this study was to determine why N fertilizer recovery by Coastal bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) is lower on swelling clay soils than on coarse-textured soils. The disposition of N fertilizer applied to Coastal bermudagrass in the field over two growing seasons was determined by applying 560 kg N/ha as Ca(NO3)2 tagged with 7.599 atom % 15N to a field microplot during 1974 and measuring various components of the N balance. Plant uptake of residual N was measured during 1975.

Forty-nine percent of the applied N was recovered in harvested forage in 1974. About 40% of the applied N remained in the soil as residual N at the end of 1974. About 10% of the N was unaccounted for, indicating that denitrification losses were no more than 10% of the applied N. Most of the residual N at the end of the first growing season was immobilized N or was present in the root system of the grass. Immobilization is, therefore, a major factor causing low recovery of applied N by Coastal bermudagrass on swelling clay soils. Moreover, since only 17% of the residual N was recovered in forage during 1975 (7% of the N applied in 1974), most of the immobilized N was not available the following year.

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