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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 4, p. 925-927
    Received: July 19, 1984
    Accepted: Feb 8, 1985

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Sulfur Fertilization of Winter Wheat Grown on Deep Sandy Soils1

  1. Kenneth M. Oates and
  2. E. J. Kamprath2



Surface horizons of sandy Coastal Plain soils of the southeastern United States are low in available SO−24, and crops are often dependent upon adsorbed SO−24 in the B horizon. The objective of this study was to determine the response of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to sulfur (S) fertilization on three soils which varied in depth to the B horizon; a Wagram soil (Arenic Paleudults) > 50 cm to the B, and two Norfolk soils (Typic Paleudults) 31 and 48 cm to the B. Sulfur rates covered the range from 0 to 90 kg S ha−1. Sources used were CaSO4 · 2H2O, elemental S plus bentonite (Sol-U-Sul) and (NH4)2SO4. Measurements were made of S concentration and N/S ratio of plants, root distribution with depth at spike emergence and grain yield at harvest. Yield response to S fertilization was obtained on the Wagram soil and the Norfolk soil in which root growth was restricted by a tillage pan but not on the Norfolk soil with the B horizon at 31 cm. A rate of 20 kg S ha−1 as SO2−4 applied in late February was adequate for optimum response. Sol-U-Sul applied in February was not effective. Ammonium sulfate was equally effective as CaSO4. Plants responded to S fertilization where nonfertilized plants had S concentrations of 0.6 g kg−1 dry weight and N/S ratios of 21. Response of wheat to S fertilization depended upon the depth to the B horizon and root distribution in the soil profile. No response to S fertilization was obtained on a Norfolk soil in which there was appreciable root growth in the 30- to 45-cm depth. That depth contained an accumulation of SO2−4. Where root growth was essentially restricted to the top 30 cm of a Norfolk soil in which SO2-4 accumulation started at the 45-cm depth there was a large response to S fertilization.

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