Fluctuating water table effect on phosphorus release and availability from a Florida Spodosol

  • Augustine K. Obour
  • Maria L. Silveira
  • Joao M. B. Vendramini
  • Lynn E. Sollenberger
  • George A. O’Connor
Original Article


Spodosols in Florida exhibit a unique hydrology including a fluctuating water table that can often reach the surface horizon during the summer months. This paper evaluated the effects of fluctuating water table on P fluxes and availability in a typical Florida Spodosol. The study was conducted on an established bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) pasture grown on a Smyrna sand (sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Aeric Alaquods). Phosphorus fluxes were measured using suction cup lysimeters installed at depths of 15, 30, 60, 90, and 150 cm. The 15- and 30-cm deep lysimeters were located above the spodic (Bh) horizon, whereas the remaining lysimeters (60-, 90- and 150-cm) were below the Bh horizon. A pressure transducer was installed at the center of the experimental site to monitor changes in water table depth. Two anion exchange membranes (2 × 6 cm) were buried in each plot at a 15-cm depth to estimate in situ P availability. During the 2-year study, leachate P concentrations in the lysimeters above the Bh horizon increased as water tables rose in the months of August and September. Conversely, P concentration measured in the lysimeters below the Bh horizon remained relatively constant (0.02 mg L−1). Soil P availability also increased (from 3.2 μg cm−2 in June to 9.2 μg cm−2 in August) in response to rising water table. Results showed that the fluctuating water table conditions experienced during the summer months in Florida cause upward flux of P from the Bh horizon, which increased soil P availability and susceptibility to off-site transport.


Anion exchange membranes Phosphorus availability Spodosol Water table 



Anion exchange membranes


Equilibrium P concentration

M1-P, M1-Al, M1-Fe, respectively

Mehlich 1 P, Al, and Fe concentrations


Phosphorus saturation ratio


Soil P storage capacity


  1. Abrams MM, Jarrell WM (1992) Bioavailability index for phosphorus using ion exchange resin-impregnated membranes. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:1532–1537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen LH Jr (1988) Dairy-siting criteria and other options for wastewater management on high water-table soils. Soil Crop Sci Soc Fla Proc 47:108–127Google Scholar
  3. Amer F, Bouldin DR, Black CA, Duke FR (1955) Characterization of soil phosphorus by anion exchange resin adsorption and 32P equilibration. Plant Soil 6:391–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belmont MA, White JR, Reddy KR (2009) Phosphorus sorption and potential phosphorus storage in sediments of Lake Istokpoga and the upper chain of Lakes, Florida, USA. J Environ Qual 38:987–996PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berryman EM, Venterea RT, Baker JM, Bloom PR, Elf B (2009) Phosphorus and greenhouse gas dynamics in a drained calcareous wetland soils in Minnesota. J Environ Qual 38:2147–2158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Capece JC, Campbell KL, Bohlen PJ, Graetz DA, Portier KM (2007) Soil phosphorus, cattle stocking rates, and water quality in subtropical pastures in Florida, USA. Rangeland Ecol Manage 60:19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Collins ME (2003) Keys to soil orders in Florida University of Florida Coop Ext Serv Gainesville, FL. Available at: http://edisifasufledu/SL43
  8. Cooperband LR, Logan TJ (1994) Measuring in situ changes in labile soil phosphorus with anion exchange membranes. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:105–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooperband LR, Gale PM, Comerford NB (1999) Refinement of the anion exchange membrane method for soluble phosphorus measurement. Soil Sci Soc Am J 63:58–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giblin AE, Laundre JA, Nadelhoffer KJ, Shaver GR (1994) Measuring nutrient availability in Arctic soils using ion exchange resins: a field test. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:1154–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Graetz DA, Nair VD (2000) Phosphorus sorption isotherm. In: Pierzynski GM (ed) Methods of phosphorus analysis for soils, sediments, residuals, and water. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No. # 396. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NCGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson DW, Verburg PSJ, Arnone JA (2005) Soil extraction, ion exchange resin, and ion exchange membrane measures of soil mineral nitrogen during incubation of a tallgrass prairie soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 69:260–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lindsay WL (1979) Chemical equilibria in soils. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Mangiafico SS, Guillard K (2006) Anion exchange membrane soil nitrate predicts turfgrass color and yield. Crop Sci 46:569–577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Martin HW, Ivanoff DB, Graetz DA, Reddy KR (1997) Water table effects on histosol drainage water carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. J Environ Qual 26:1062–1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meason DF, Idol TW (2008) Nutrient sorption dynamics of resin membranes and resin bags in a tropical forest. Soil Sci Soc Am J 72:1806–1814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Murphy J, Riley JP (1962) A modified single solution method for the determination of phosphate in natural waters. Anal Chem Acta 27:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nair VD, Harris WG (2004) A capacity factor as an alternative to soil test phosphorus in phosphorus risk assessment. New Zealand J Agric Res 47:491–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nair VD, Graetz DA, Reddy KR (1998) Dairy manure influences on phosphorus retention capacity of Spodosols. J Environ Qual 27:522–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nair VD, Villapando RR, Graetz DA (1999) Phosphorus retention capacity of the spodic horizon under varying environmental conditions. J Environ Qual 28:1308–1313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nair VD, Portier KM, Graetz DA, Walker ML (2004) An environmental threshold for degree of phosphorus saturation in sandy soils. J Environ Qual 33:107–113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Newman YC, Agyin-Birikorang S, Adjei MB, Scholberg JM, Silveira ML, Vendramini JMB, Rechcigl JE, Sollenberger LE (2009) Nitrogen fertilization effect on phosphorus remediation potential of three perennial warm-season forages. Agron J 101:1243–1248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nyiraneza J, N’Dayegamiye A, Chantigny MH, Laverdière MR (2009) Variations in corn yield and nitrogen uptake in relation to soil nitrogen attributes and nitrogen availability indices. Soil Sci Soc Am J 73:317–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Obour AK, Silveira ML, Adjei MB, Vendramini JMB, Rechcigl JE (2009) Cattle manure application strategies effects on bahiagrass yield nutritive value and phosphorus recovery. Agron J 101:1099–1107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Obour AK, Silveira ML, Vendramini JMB, Jawitz JW, O’Connor GA, Sollenberger LE (2011a) A phosphorus budget for bahiagrass pastures growing on a typical Florida Spodosol. Agron J 103:611–616Google Scholar
  26. Obour AK, Silveira ML, Vendramini JMB, Sollenberger LE, O’Connor GA, Jawitz JW (2011b) Agronomic and environmental impacts of phosphorus fertilization of low input bahiagrass systems in Florida. Nutr Cycling Agroecosyst 89:281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Obour AK, Vendramini JMB, Silveira ML, Sollenberger LE, O’Connor GA, Jawitz J (2011c) Phosphorus fertilization responses on bahiagrass pastures: forage production and water quality. Agron J 103:324–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pant HK, Reddy KR (2001) Phosphorus sorption characteristics of estuarine sediments under different redox conditions. J Environ Qual 30:1474–1480PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ponnamperuma FN (1972) The chemistry of submerged soils. Adv Agron 26:29–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Qian P, Schoenau JJ (2002) Practical applications of ion exchange resins in agricultural and environmental soil research. Can J Soil Sci 82:9–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Qian P, Schoenau JJ, Huang WZ (1992) Use of ion exchange membranes in routine soil testing. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 23:1791–1804CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rechcigl JE, Payne GG, Bottcher AB, Porter PS (1992) Reduced P application on bahiagrass and water quality. Agron J 84:463–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Reddy KR, O’Connor GA, Gale PM (1998) Phosphorus sorption capacities of wetlands soils and stream sediments impacted by dairy effluent. J Environ Qual 27:438–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rhue RD, Harris GW (1999) Phosphorus sorption/desorption reactions in soils and sediments. In: Reddy KR, O’Connor GA, Schelake CL (eds) Phosphorus biogeochemistry in subtropical ecosystems. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL, pp 187–203Google Scholar
  35. SAS Institute (1999) SAS/STAT guide for personal computers version 6. SAS Institute, Cary, NCGoogle Scholar
  36. Seng V, Bell RW, Willett IR (2006) Effects of lime and flooding on phosphorus availability and rice growth on two acidic lowland soils. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 37:313–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shekiffu CY, Semoka JMR (2007) Evaluation of iron oxide impregnated filter paper method as an index of phosphorus availability in paddy soils of Tanzania. Nutr Cycling Agroecosyst 77:169–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Soil Survey Staff (1984) Soil survey of Hardee County Florida. USDA soil conservation service. US Gov Print Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  39. Soil Survey Staff (1996) Keys to soil taxonomy. US Gov Print Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  40. Surridge BWJ, Heathwait AL, Baird AJ (2007) The release of phosphorus to porewater and surface water from river riparian sediments. J Environ Qual 36:1534–1544PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Terry RE, Gascho GJ, Shih SF (1980) Effect of depth of water table on the quality of water in the Everglades agricultural area. In: Proceedings of 6th peat congress Duluth, MN, pp 700–704Google Scholar
  42. US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (1993) Methods for the determination of inorganic substances in environmental samples. USEPA 600/R-93/100 Method 3532Google Scholar
  43. Villapando RR, Graetz DA (2001) Water table effects on phosphorus reactivity and mobility in a dairy manure-impacted spodosol. Ecol Eng 18:77–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Weih M (1998) Seasonality of nutrient availability in soils of subarctic mountain birch woodlands. Swedish Lapland Arctic Alpine Res 30:19–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wright RB, Lockaby BG, Walbridge MR (2001) Phosphorus availability in an artificially flooded southeastern floodplain forest soil. Soil Sci Soc Am J 65:1293–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Young EO, Ross DS (2001) Phosphate release from seasonal flooded soils: a laboratory microcosm study. J Environ Qual 30:91–101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yucan TL (1966) Characteristics of surface and spodic horizons of some Spodosols. Soil Crop Sci Soc Fla Proc 26:163–174Google Scholar
  48. Ziadi N, Simard RR, Allard G, Lafond J (1999) Field evaluation of anion exchange membranes as a N soil testing method for grasslands. Can J Soil Sci 79:281–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zielinski RA, Orem WH, Simmons KP, Bohlen PJ (2006) Fertilizer-derived uranium and sulfur in rangeland soil and runoff; a case study in central Florida. Water Air Soil Pollut 176:163–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augustine K. Obour
    • 1
  • Maria L. Silveira
    • 1
  • Joao M. B. Vendramini
    • 1
  • Lynn E. Sollenberger
    • 2
  • George A. O’Connor
    • 3
  1. 1.Range Cattle Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaOnaUSA
  2. 2.Agronomy DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Soil and Water Science DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations