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Vertical Distribution of Phosphorus in Agricultural Drainage Ditch Soils

Vaughan, Robert E., Needelman, Brian A., Kleinman, Peter J.A., Allen, Arthur L.
Journal of environmental quality 2007 v.36 no.6 pp. 1895
soil pollution, polluted soils, phosphorus, agricultural soils, drainage channels, spatial distribution, soil chemical properties, soil horizons, Maryland
Pedological processes such as gleization and organic matter accumulation may affect the vertical distribution of P within agricultural drainage ditch soils. The objective of this study was to assess the vertical distribution of P as a function of horizonation in ditch soils at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Research Farm in Princess Anne, Maryland. Twenty-one profiles were sampled from 10 agricultural ditches ranging in length from 225 to 550 m. Horizon samples were analyzed for total P; water-extractable P; Mehlich-3 P; acid ammonium oxalate-extractable P, Fe, and Al (P, Fe, Al); pH; and organic C (= 126). Total P ranged from 27 to 4882 mg kg, P from 4 to 4631 mg kg, Mehlich-3 P from 2 to 401 mg kg, and water-extractable P from 0 to 17 mg kg Soil-forming processes that result in differences between horizons had a strong relationship with various P fractions and P sorption capacity. Fibric organic horizons at the ditch soil surface had the greatest mean P, Fe, and Al concentrations of any horizon class. Gleyed A horizons had a mean Fe concentrations 2.6 times lower than dark A horizons and were significantly lower in total P and P Variation in P due to organic matter accumulation and gleization provide critical insight into short- and long-term dynamics of P in ditch soils and should be accounted for when applying ditch management practices.