Vertical distribution of phosphorus in agricultural drainage ditch soils

Robert E. Vaughan, Brian A. Needelman, Peter J.A. Kleinman, Arthur L. Allen

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16 Scopus citations


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 (Pox, Fe ox, Alox); pH; and organic C (n = 126), Total P ranged from 27 to 4882 mg kg-1, Pox from 4 to 4631 mg kg -1, Mehlich-3 P from 2 to 401 mg kg-1, and water-extractable P from. 0 to 17 mg kg-1. 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 Pox, Feox, and Alox concentrations of any horizon class. Gleyed A horizons had a mean Feox concentrations 2.6 times lower than dark. A horizons and were significantly lower in total P and Pox. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1895-1903
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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