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Effects of the chemical form of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers on the dynamics of the soil solution composition and on nutrient uptake by wheat

Effects of the chemical form of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers on the dynamics of the soil solution composition and on nutrient uptake by wheat

Plant and Soil 202(2): 263-270

Adding nitrogen (N) fertilizers to soil affects not only the concentration in the soil solution of the added ions, but also those of other ions already present in the soil. This secondary effect is caused by ion exchange and electrochemical equilibrium processes. We studied how different N fertilizers affected the chemical composition of the soil solution over time, and how this related to nutrient uptake by wheat. Soil was fertilized either with (NH4)2SO4 or Ca(NO3)2, or no N was added. Each of these N treatments was either planted or not with spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Soil solutions were collected repeatedly with looped hollow fiber samplers from the root zone in situ, six times during a 50-day pot experiment. Plants were harvested five times, and their nutrient contents determined. In the soil solution, NO3- was significantly less concentrated if (NH4)2SO4, rather than Ca(NO3)2 was applied, until after net nitrification had ended on day 20. In contrast, Ca2+, Mg2+ and K+ were significantly more concentrated in the former treatment. This was probably caused by the greater concentration of anions that resulted from nitrification. P was always very dilute and unaffected by the form of N fertilizer. The form of N fertilizer had no significant effect on plant growth and nutrient uptake. The likely contribution of mass flow of the soil solution in supplying Ca, Mg and N to the plants was greatest when (NH4)2SO4 was supplied. The supply of K and P was unaffected by N fertilizer. The potential for N leaching loss was lower with (NH4)2SO4 than with Ca(NO3)2, especially up to day 20. However, the potential for cations leaching loss was greater in the (NH4)2SO4 treatment. This suggests that there is only a limited advantage in fertilizing with (NH4)2SO4 to reduce the total loss of nutrients from soil.

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Accession: 003121719

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DOI: 10.1023/a:1004371631228

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