Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 4, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The rate of cover crop root decomposition affects carbon and nitrogen cycling in the soil. The objective of this study was to measure decomposition rates of oat and rye root residues in the field. Mesh bags containing oat or rye roots were buried in the field at soil depths of 5, 10, 20, and 40 cm in November and May of two years and retrieved at preset time intervals. Root residues remaining at the sampling dates were recovered, dried, weighed, and analyzed for total C and N. The first year's data shows that, as expected, roots buried in the spring decomposed more rapidly than roots buried in the fall. Additionally, oat roots decomposed more rapidly than rye roots, especially at the early sampling dates. No clear patterns or trends were evident for root decomposition with depth. Data from the second year will also be presented.