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Effect of soil-conditioner-fertilizer interactions on soil structure, plant growth, and yield



Effect of soil-conditioner-fertilizer interactions on soil structure, plant growth, and yield



Soil Sci 81(1): 33-46



Field application of the synthetic polyelectrolytes HPAN and VAMA markedly influenced the physical properties of Hoytville silty clay as evidenced by a significant increase in aggregate stability and aeration porosity. Although conditioner-treated plots appeared to dry out more rapidly after rainstorms, the field-moisture percentage, water-holding capacity, and moisture equivalent were not altered by either conditioner or fertilizer treatment. Cation-exchange capacity and pH were not altered by treatment. Throughout a second growing season, improved soil structure and stability of aggregates as a result of conditioner treatment were significantly maintained. Aggregation values for all plots, treated and untreated, were approximately 10% less than the values obtained 1 year previously. Accumulation of N in corn leaf tissue and corn grain was significantly increased by nitrogen fertilization, but it was decreased by conditioner treatment in absence of nitrogen fertilization. Fertilizer and conditioner treatment had little effect on P and K accumulation because of the large quantities of these elements in Hoytville silty clay. Growth measurements of corn throughout the growing season indicated, in addition to lower moisture percentage in corn grain, that conditioner treatment and nitrogen fertilization significantly increased the rate of growth and maturation of corn. Corn plants growing in conditioner-treated plots, especially in combination with nitrogen fertilization, were greener, mere vigorous, larger, and exhibited very little wilting during drouth periods. It is suggested that conditioner treatment increased the "physiological availability" of water in Hoytville silty clay. Yield of corn was significantly increased by nitrogen fertilization and conditioner treatment. The 1952 nitrogen fertilization markedly increased nitrogen content of mature oat plants and oat grain and yield of oats the second year of this experiment. Conditioner treatment significantly reduced nitrogen content of oat tissues but had little effect on yield. A probable increase in the rate of nitrification had larger nitrate losses in conditioner-treated plots could account for this observed reduction of nitrogen content. The significant effect of the fertilizer-conditioner interactions in altering the state of aggregation, in increasing nitrogen content of leaf tissue and grain of corn, and in increasing the rate of growth and yield of corn the first year of this study suggests that the effectiveness of conditioner materials was altered by presence of fertilizer salts and that the effectiveness of fertilizer was influenced by certain physical properties of the Hoytville silty clay stablized by conditioner treatment. The analysis of variance for mean responses for main effects and interactions indicated that the effectiveness of nitrogen fertilization in increasing corn and oat yields was significantly increased by conditioner treatment.

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