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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 4, p. 905-911
    Received: Oct 1, 1984
    Accepted: Jan 25, 1985

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Phosphorus Cycling in Unfertilized and Fertilized Agricultural Soils1

  1. A. N. Sharpley2



Surface soil samples (0–50 mm depth) were taken from several grassed and cropped, unfertilized and P-fertilized soils at monthly intervals for 2 yr, to investigate seasonal variations in amounts and forms of P and relative importance of inorganic and organic P as sources of plant available P. Although no consistent seasonal variation in inorganic P content was observed for the unfertilized soils, amounts increased after fertilizer P addition. Organic P content was higher in the winter (Oct.–Mar.) than spring months (May–June) for both unfertilized and fertilized soils. Consequently, mineralization of organic P during the growing season, which contributed similar amounts of P (20–74 kg P ha−1) as added in fertilizer (13–100 kgP ha−1), was not inhibited by fertilizer P addition. Organic P variation was mainly due to changes in moderately labile organic P, with more labile and resistant pools remaining constant. The most labile organic P pool was maintained at a constant level possibly by mineralization and formation from moderately labile organic P. Little change in P content of unfertilized subsurface soil (50–150 mm) was observed, although inorganic and available P contents increased slightly following fertilizer P application. Available P (Bray-I P) was closely correlated with organic P in unfertilized soils and with inorganic P in fertilized soils. Slopes of these relationships were related to phosphatase enzyme activity and P sorption maximum for organic and inorganic P, respectively. The importance of organic P as a source of available P in both unfertilized and fertilized soils was demonstrated. The need to include organic P in soil-P fertility tests, especially with the increasing use of reduced-tillage practices, is emphasized.

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