Estimating soil phosphorus requirements and limits from oxalate extract data

E. M. D'Angelo, M. V. Vandiviere, W. O. Thom, F. Sikora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Excessive fertilizer and manure phosphorus (P) inputs to soils elevates P in soil solution and surface runoff, which can lead to fresh-water eutrophication. Runoff P can be related to soil test P and P sorption saturation, but these approaches are restricted to a limited range of soil types or are difficult to determine on a routine basis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether easily measurable soil characteristics were related to the soil phosphorus requirements (Preq, the amount of P sorbed at a particular solution P level). The Preq was determined for 18 chemically diverse soils from sorption isotherm data (corrected for native sorbed P) and was found to be highly correlated to the sum of oxalate-extractable Al and Fe (R2 > 0.90). Native sorbed P, also determined from oxalate extraction, was subtracted from the Preq to determine soil phosphorus limits (PL, the amount of P that can be added to soil to reach Preq). Using this approach, the PL to reach 0.2 mg P L-1 in solution ranged between -92 and 253 mg P kg-1. Negative values identified soils with surplus P, while positive values showed soils with P deficiency. The results showed that P, Al, and Fe in oxalate extracts of soils held promise for determining PL to reach up to 10 mg P L-1 in solution (leading to potential runoff from many soils). The soil oxalate extraction test could be integrated into existing best management practices for improving soil fertility and protecting water quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1088
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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