Duration of tillage management affects carbon and phosphorus stratification in phosphatic Paleudalfs

M. Díaz-Zorita, J. H. Grove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Surface accumulation of soil organic carbon (SOC) under conservation tillage has significant effects on stratification of other nutrients, on crop productivity and in ameliorating the greenhouse effect via atmospheric CO2 sequestration. A measure of SOC stratification relative to deeper soil layers has been proposed as a soil quality index. Our objective was to determine the effects of the duration of tillage practices upon the SOC and extractable P distribution with depth in Maury silt loams (Typic Paleudalfs) at similar levels of corn (Zea mays L.) productivity without P fertilization. Soil samples (0-20.0 cm in 2.5 cm increments) were collected under moldboard tillage (MT), chisel tillage (CT) and no-tillage (NT) and in surrounding tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea L.) sods selected from three tillage experiments (1-2-, 8- and 29-year durations) in Kentucky. SOC stratification was greater under conservation tillage (CT and NT) and sods than under MT. SOC and soil-test-extractable P stratification were positively related. Increasing the duration under NT caused the thickness of C stratification to increase. In NT soils, C stratification ratio (CSR) approached CSR in the nearby long-term sods with time. Conservation tillage rapidly promoted the occurrence of CSR greater than 2 while MT always resulted in values lower than 2. The rapid initial change in CSR suggests characterization of thin soil layers (i.e. 2.5 cm depth increments) is desirable under conservation tillage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Chisel tillage
  • Moldboard tillage
  • No-tillage
  • Phosphorus
  • Soil organic matter
  • Temperate regions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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