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The role of calcite and gypsum in the leaching of potassium in a sandy soil

Jalali, M. and Rowell, D. L. (2003) The role of calcite and gypsum in the leaching of potassium in a sandy soil. Experimental Agriculture, 39 (4). pp. 379-394. ISSN 0014-4797

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/s001447970300139x


Pulses of potassium (K+) applied to columns of repacked calcium (Ca2+) saturated soil were leached with distilled water or calcium chloride (CaCl2) solutions of various concentrations at a rate of 12 mm h(-1). With increased Ca2+ concentration, the rate of movement of K+ increased, as did the concentration of K+ in the displaced pulse, which was less dispersed. The movement of K+ in calcite-amended soil leached with water was at a similar rate to that of the untreated soil leached with 1 mM CaCl2, and in soil containing gypsum, movement was similar to that leached with 15 mM CaCl2. The Ca2+ concentrations in the leachates were about 0.4 and 15 mM respectively the expected values for the dissolution of the two amendments. Soil containing native K+ was leached with distilled water or CaCl2 solutions. The amount of K+ leached increased as Ca2+ concentration increased, with up to 34% of the exchangeable K+ being removed in five pore volumes of 15 mM CaCl2. Soil amended with calcite and leached with water lost K+ at a rate between that for leaching the unamended soil with 1 mM CaCl2 and that with water. Soil containing gypsum and leached with water lost K+ at a similar rate to unamended soil leached with 15 mM CaCl2. The presence of Ca2+ in irrigation water and of soil minerals able to release Ca2+ are of importance in determining the amounts of K+ leached from soils. The LEACHM model predicted approximately the displacement of K+, and was more accurate with higher concentrations of displacing solution. The shortcomings of this model are its inability to account for rate-controlled processes and the assumption that K+:Ca2+ exchange during leaching can be described using a constant adsorption coefficient. As a result, the pulse is predicted to appear a little earlier and the following edge has less of a tail than chat measured. In practical agriculture, the model will be more useful in soils containing gypsum or leached with saline water than in either calcareous or non-calcareous soils leached with rainwater.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3668
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