Vertical Distribution in Soil of Unincorporated Surface-applied Phosphorus Under Sprinkler Irrigation
Determining vertical distribution of P is important in irrigated conservation cropping systems for evaluation of P fertilization because soil-immobile phosphorus accumulates near the soil surface where limited tillage reduces soil mixing. The objective was to determine in field and laboratory experiments the vertical distribution of P from surface-applied monoammonium phosphate (MAP; 227 g P kg−1), triple superphosphate (TSP; 197 g P kg−1), and ammonium polyphosphate (APP; 149 g P kg−1). Following P application, vertical distribution was determined from 2-cm depth increment samples in a Quincy sand (mixed, mesic, Xeric Torripsamments), a Warden silt loam (coarse-silty, mixed, mesic, Xerollic Camborthids), and a calcareous subsoil of the Warden. There was little effect on P distribution from antecedent moisture; fertilizer rates at 30, 60, 120, or 240 kg P ha−1; or from preirrigation reaction times of 1, 4, or 16 d. Continuous postapplication irrigation totals of 40 or 160 mm at 10 mm d−1 moved P somewhat deeper into the soil, principally at 160 mm on the Quincy sand. Overall mean penetration depths of P were as follows: (i) APP moved the farthest in the Quincy sand (mean = 6.1; SD = 1.05 cm); (ii) penetrations were practically the same for MAP or TSP on the Quincy sand (mean = 5.4; SD = 1.32 cm) and on the noncalcareous Warden silt loam (mean = 5.5; SD = 1.25 cm); (iii) depth of penetration was intermediate for APP on the noncalcareous Warden (mean = 4.0; SD = 0.98 cm); and (iv) downward movement in the calcareous Warden of P from all fertilizer P materials was much more restricted (MAP/TSP: mean = 3.1; SD = 0.10 cm and APP: mean = 3.3; SD = 0.52) than on the two noncalcareous soils. Overall, the most apparent conclusion from this study is that the reactivity of P fertilizer material with the soil is the dominant and overriding determinate of the vertical distribution of surface-applied P.
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