Testing soils for phosphorus

P. E. Fixen, J. H. Grove

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

174 Citations (SciVal)


The major purpose of testing soils for phosphorus (P) is to determine the quantity of supplemental P required to prevent economic loss of crop value because of P deficiency. A second purpose for testing soils for P is to monitor the quantity of available P present over time. This chapter aims to review the facets of testing soils for P including interpretation of the test results. In the process, an attempt is made to indicate what existing soil test methodology can and cannot do. A greenhouse experiment on millet demonstrated that P uptake increased as soil moisture increased at a soil temperature of 27 °C, but not at 16 °C. The quantity of labile P in a soil is just one of several factors that determine the plant availability of soil P. The chapter discusses factors more specific to soil test P calibration and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoil Testing and Plant Analysis
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)9780891188629
StatePublished - Sep 11 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1990 by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc.


  • Greenhouse experiment
  • Plant availability
  • Soil phosphorus
  • Soil test correlation
  • Soil test phosphorus calibration
  • Soil test phosphorus interpretation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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