Impacts of Fertilization on Soil Properties in Loblolly Pine Plantations in the Southeastern United States
Tacilla Villanueva, Antonio
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We examined the effects of periodic nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer applications on the O horizon and mineral soil in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations over a 12-year period. To accomplish this, we used 9 experimental sites located across the south, which were grouped using the CRIFF Classification System. Group 1�"CRIFF A, B (poorly-drained Ultisols); group 2�"CRIFF C, D, G (sandy Spodosols and Entisols); and group 3�"CRIFF E, F (well-drained Ultisols). Fertilization rates were 135, 202, and 269 kg N ha-1 at 4 years application frequency. This resulted in a cumulative N application rate of 540, 808, and 1076 kg ha-1. P was added at 10% of the N rate. Fertilization increased the mass, N content, and P content of the O horizon in all soil groups. Fertilization did not impact mineral soil N. No significant increases in total N trends were observed to a depth of 1 m. Likewise, total inorganic N (NH4+ + NO3-) was not affected by fertilization. These results suggest that N fertilization will have little effect on long-term soil N availability regardless of soil types. In contrast, fertilization increased extractable P in soil CRIFF groups 1, 2, and 3 by 26, 60, and 4 kg P ha-1 respectively suggesting potential for long-term soil P availability and site quality improvement. However, the low extractable P in soil group 3 implies additional fertilization with P for the next rotation for sites included into this soil group.
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