1 Soils and Fertilizers Leo Espinoza Soils Specialist 2004
2 What is soil? A collection of organic and inorganic bodies on the earth s surface, modified by the surrounding environment or even made by humans, with characteristic chemical, physical and biological properties...
3 Major Soil Components Minerals Mineral soils <20% OM by weight. Organic matter Organic soils >20% OM by weight; 50% by volume. Air Water
4 Major Land Resources in Arkansas 49 soil associations
6 Major Soil Properties Soil Physical Properties Color, Texture, Structure, Density, Water holding capacity, Aeration. Soil Chemical Properties ph, Mineralogy, Clay chemistry, Cation Exchange Capacity, Base Saturation. Soil Biological Properties Organic matter, Organisms
7 Soil Texture Size distribution of primary soil particles. The amount of sand, silt, and clay a soil contains. Three large groups by texture are sands, loams, and clays Physical properties
8 Relative Size of Soil Particles Sand Silt Clay
9 Soil Pore Space Sandy soils 35-50% pore space Clayey soils 40-60% pore space. Very compacted zones 25-30%. Physical properties
15 Terms to Describe Soil Moisture Saturation Field Capacity Wilting Point Inches / ft Sand Silt Clay Inch / ft Sand Silt Clay
16 Major Soil Properties Soil Physical Properties Color, Texture, Structure, Density, Water holding capacity, Aeration. Soil Chemical Properties ph, Mineralogy, Clay chemistry, Cation Exchange Capacity, Base Saturation. Soil Biological Properties Organic matter, Organisms
17 Soil ph Soil ph is a measure of the H+ ion activity or concentration in soil solution. Chemical properties
18 Soil ph Classification Soils with ph < 5.0: Strongly acid -- corrective treatment is needed immediately for most crop production. Soils with ph between 5.0 and 5.5: Moderate acid -- need corrective treatment, but crops will grow. Soils with ph between 5.5 and 6.5: Optimum for most crops Soils with a ph range of 6.5 to 7.0: Near neutral Soils with a ph > 7.0: Neutral to alkaline.
19 Optimum for Most Crops Increasing Acidity Increasing Alkalinity
22 How do we correct soil ph problems? Acidic phs (< 5.5): Lime is applied to raise the ph to optimum levels Alkaline phs (>7.5): Sulfur can be used. Acid forming fertilizers may help lower the ph, but most alkaline soils resist any changes in ph.
23 How do we correct acidic soil ph problems?
24 Several materials are available, with each material being compared to calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is assigned a value of 100.
25 Pure CaCO Ag Lime Dolomitic lime Burned lime (Toxic) Boiler wood ash 30-60
26 Will react slowly with soil particles Will react fast with soil particles.
27 Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) The ability of a soil to retain positively charged ions (cations). Clays and soils are generally negatively charged and attract cations (K, Ca, Mg ). Chemical properties
28 Cation Exchange Capacity Organic matter increases significantly the Cation Exchange Capacity of a soil.
29 Percent Base Saturation The ratio of basic cations to the total soil cations. (i.e., H + and Al +3 ) Generally, as %BS increases, ph increases for a soil, and over a large number of soils. A base saturation >15% is ideal. Chemical properties
30 Major Soil Properties Soil Physical Properties Color, Texture, Structure, Density, Water holding capacity, Aeration. Soil Chemical Properties ph, Mineralogy, Clay chemistry, Cation Exchange Capacity, Base Saturation. Soil Biological Properties Organic matter, Organisms
33 Important Bacterial-Driven Processes N 2 fixation by Legumes Sulfur oxidation Nitrification (N Mineralization)
34 Soil Organic Matter
35 Influence of SOM on Soil Physical and Chemical Characteristics Color: The dark color is the result of SOM for most soils (but may also be related to manganese) Granulation: SOM increases granular structure Cation Exchange Capacity: SOM increases CEC
36 Influence of SOM on Soil Physical and Chemical Characteristics Nutrient Supply: Exchangeable cations N,P,S, and micronutrients in organic forms released through mineralization Acidity from SOM dissolves primary minerals releasing nutrients e.g. K from feldspars, Ca from limestone Aggregate Stability: SOM increases Aggregate stability Water Holding Capacity: SOM increases Water-holding capacity
37 General Plant Nutrition
38 General Plant Nutrition Essential element: A chemical element necessary for the normal growth of plants Categories of essential elements: 1. Macronutrients a. Secondary 2. Micronutrients
40 Law of the Minimum Plant production can be no greater than that allowed by the growth factor present in the lowest amount relative to the optimum amount for that factor. Growth factors may include: essential nutrients Water oxygen/carbon dioxide Temperature others
41 Mo B Zn Mg Cu Fe S Mn Cl Ca K 2 O P 2 O 5 $ N $ $
42 Role of Nutrients in Plants N Nitrogen is a major part of all amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. N is the nutrient used in largest amounts by plants, providing plants a deep green color.
44 Role of Nutrients in Plants N P K Nitrogen is a major part of all amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. N is the nutrient used in largest amounts by plants, providing plants a deep green color. Phosphorus is an essential component of ATP, the energy currency of cells. This is the energy that regulates most enzymes in plants and animals. P is also a component of DNA. Potassium activates many enzymes inside plants. A good supply of K is important for drought conditions. Winter hardiness.
45 Role of Nutrients in Plants N P K Nitrogen is a major part of all amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. N is the nutrient used in largest amounts by plants, providing plants a deep green color. Phosphorus is an essential component of ATP, the energy currency of cells. This is the energy that regulates most enzymes in plants and animals. P is also a component of DNA. Potassium activates many enzymes inside plants. A good supply of K is important for drought conditions. Winter hardiness.
50 Role of Nutrients in Plants Ca Component of cell walls, plays a role in the permeability of membranes. Mg Constituent of Chlorophyll and enzyme activator. S Constituent of some plant proteins. Micronutrients In general, micronutrients are involved in the activation of enzymes within a plant. Enzymes regulate most reactions in plants.
51 How are fertilizer recommendations made? 1. A representative soil sample is collected, with the recommendation being as good as the quality of the sample collected. 2. The soil sample is analyzed for available nutrients following standard procedures. 3. The soil test is analyzed and a fertilizer recommendation is generated. Recommendations are based on research conducted under variable weather and soil conditions.
52 Collecting a representative soil sample
53 How are fertilizer recommendations made? 1. A representative soil sample is collected, with the recommendation being as good as the quality of the sample collected. 2. The soil sample is analyzed for available nutrients following standard procedures. 3. The soil test is analyzed and a fertilizer recommendation is generated. Recommendations are based on research conducted under variable weather and soil conditions.
54 Soil Testing Methodology Different soil test laboratories may recommend different amounts of fertilizer for the same soil and crop. Labs may use different extractant solutions. Labs may follow different philosophies.
55 How are fertilizer recommendations made? 1. A representative soil sample is collected, with the recommendation being as good as the quality of the sample collected. 2. The soil sample is analyzed for available nutrients following standard procedures. 3. The soil test is analyzed and a fertilizer recommendation is generated. Recommendations are based on research conducted under variable weather and soil conditions.
56 Philosophies of Soil Testing Fertilize the crop : Apply only enough fertilizer to produce optimum yields for the current year and no additional amounts for maintenance or increasing soil fertility. Fertilize the soil : Apply enough fertilizer to produce optimum yields for the current year but also add an additional amount for maintenance or increasing soil fertility.
57 Units and Conversions ppm = parts per million (soil analysis) mg/l = miligrams per liter (water analysis) lb/a = pound per acre (soil analysis) 1 ppm = 1 mg/l 1ppm ~ 2 lb/a If a soil test reports 10 ppm K, this is equivalent to Approx 20 lb/a
62 What is in a Fertilizer Label?
63 What is in a Fertilizer Label? 8 lb N per 100 lb of material lb P 2 O 5 per 100 lb of material 5 lb K 2 O per 100 lb of material
64 Fertilizer Sources Chemical sources : Complete formulas: Single element Organic sources: Compost Poultry litter Manure Sewage Sludge
65 What is the difference between chemical and organic sources sources? Organic sources release nutrients slowly Chemical sources are readily available for plant roots We can make our own organic fertilizer by Composting food leftovers.
66 Composting Typical Composition of Municipal Waste Compost Organic-N 1.2% P 0.7% K 0.5% Ca 3.5% Mg 0.5% Fe 1.8%
67 An example
68 How Much Fertilizer to Apply? Lawn is 4000 square feet Need to apply 1lb of nitrogen per 1000 square feet Fertilizer that will be used is ( )
69 Applying Fertilizer (continued) 100 lb of material contain 13 lb of N 8 lb of material supplies about 1 lb of actual nitrogen Rate is 1 lb per 1,000 square feet 8 lb per 1000 ft 32 lb per 4000 square
70 Amount of nitrogen fertilizers needed to supply 4, 2, and 1 lb. of actual nitrogen per 4000 square feet. Approx. lb. of fertilizer needed 4 lb 2 lb 1 lb Urea (45-0-0) Ammonium nitrate (33-0-0) Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0)
71 What is wrong with this picture?
72 Mineralization/Immobilization Immobilization The conversion of an element from the inorganic form to the organic form in microbial tissues, thus rendering the element temporarily unavailable to plants or other organisms. Mineralization Process of conversion of organic materials to inorganic materials, thus rendering the element available to plants or other organisms. Major Nutrients Involved: N, P, S
74 C/N Ratio Most C and N in soils is associated with SOM. The amount of decomposition and subsequent N released will depend upon the C/N ratio of the residue or the soil Soils usually have C/N between 8:1 and 15:1 Plant tissues/residues have high C/N ratios Legumes 20:1 to 30:1 Straw (wheat, rice, etc.) 100:1 Woodchips, sawdust, etc. 400:1
75 What is in a Fertilizer Label? Cont However, Fertilizer is not sold as N, P 2 O 5, or K 2 O, Instead they are sold as: Nitrate and Ammonium for N Phosphates for P Typically as KCl for K
76 Composting Composting is the biological decomposition of organic matter. Microorganisms,worms and insects break organic materials into compost. Compost contains nutrients that, when returned to the soil, are used by plants. This is nature s way of recycling.
77 Benefits of Using Compost Arkansas Act 479 of 1993 prohibits the disposal of yard waste in landfills. Compost Compost improves the structure of soils, especially soils high in clay, by adding organic matter. is a soil conditioner. It slowly releases plant nutrients. Compost improves soil health by promoting the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Compost soil conserves water by increasing the ability of a soil to hold water, and reducing lost by erosion.
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