Title page for ETD etd-01032005-092600

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Spargo, John Thomas
Author's Email Address jspargo@vt.edu
URN etd-01032005-092600
Title Availability and Surface Runoff of Phosphorus from Compost Amended Mid-Atlantic Soils
Degree Master of Science
Department Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Evanylo, Gregory K. Committee Chair
Alley, Marcus M. Committee Member
Mullins, Gregory L. Committee Member
  • poultry litter
  • phosphorus runoff
  • compost
  • biosolids
Date of Defense 2004-12-14
Availability restricted
The accumulation of P in soil from land-applied biosolids and manure increases the risk for P enrichment of agricultural runoff. Transport of these residuals to areas where P may be efficiently utilized is necessary to reduce the threat to water quality. Composting can improve biosolids and manure handling characteristics to make their transportation more feasible; however, little is known about P dynamics in compost-amended soil. We investigated the factors controlling P solubility and plant availability in two soils, a Kempsville fine sandy loam (Typic Hapludult) and a Fauquier silty clay loam (Ultic Hapludalf), amended with one of 4 composts (2 biosolids composts and 2 poultry litter - yard waste composts), poultry litter, or inorganic P (as KH2PO4) in incubation and greenhouse pot studies. We also compared the effects of compost, poultry litter and commercial fertilizer on surface P runoff from a Fauquier silty clay loam that had received compost, poultry litter, or commercial fertilizer for 5 years. Organic amendments with higher concentrations of Fe, Al, and Ca had lower relative P solubility/availability. Phosphorus solubility in the Kempsville fine sandy loam, having far lower native P binding capacity, was more affected by Fe, Al, and Ca applied with the organic amendments. The concentration of P in runoff from the compost treatments was higher; however, infiltration was increased and runoff decreased so the mass loss of P and sediment was lower. Improved soil physical properties associated with compost applications aid to limit P runoff.
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