Fertilizer research

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 115–122 | Cite as

Phosphorus retention and release from sandy soils of the Peel-Harvey catchment

  • G. S. P. Ritchie
  • D. M. Weaver


In order to manage phosphorus (P) losses from soils to waterbodies, knowledge of the mechanisms through which P is retained or released from the soil is essential. Sandy soils of the Peel-Harvey catchment (Western Australia) were subjected to a range of environmental and management factors in the laboratory and field in order to gain an understanding of the mechanisms that affect the magnitude of P losses. Sandy soils accumulated P, despite having little sorption capacity, and this accumulation could be monitored by measuring an acid-extractable fraction. The potential, short-term P loss could be estimated by determination of water-soluble soil solution P prior to winter rains. An annual cycle of the change in arbitrarily defined soil-P pools is discussed in relation to environmental and management factors. Laboratory experiments indicated that P rundown and potential annual P loss in the absence of P fertilizers could be estimated using bicarbonate extractable P. Phosphorus losses were decreased by the application of fertilizers with a low content of water-soluble P. The low ability of sandy soils of the Peel-Harvey coastal catchment to retain P, when compared to other Western Australian soils, is because of low contents of clay minerals and iron and aluminium hydrous oxides.

Key words

phosphorus retention release sandy soils 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. S. P. Ritchie
    • 1
  • D. M. Weaver
    • 2
  1. 1.Soil Science and Plant NutritionSchool of Agriculture, University of Western AustraliaNedlandsUSA
  2. 2.Western Australian Department of AgricultureAlbanyUSA

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