Submitted to: Hortscience Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/20/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Improper management of poultry manure and bedding (litter) can cause hypoxia in aquatic communities but poultry waste can be converted to a stable organic fertilizer by composting. Peach trees (Prunus persica L. 'Sunhigh') received the following treatments in May 1998: commercial fertilizer (15 g N/m2), low rate composted poultry litter (15 g N/m2 as 2.9 kg composted litter/m2), high rate composted poultry litter (62 g N/m2 as 11.6 kg composted litter/m2), and no treatment control. Weeds were completely controlled during 1998 but, by September 1999, the high rate poultry litter had only 27% weed cover compared with 86% for the commercial fertilizer-treated plots. Soil N was highest in plots treated with commercial fertilizer (16.4 mg N-NH4 and 18.6 mg N-NO3 per kg soil, 6 weeks after treatment) and did not differ among the remaining treatments (in the high rate of poultry litter - 3.2 mg N-NH4 and 0.7 mg N-NO3 per kg soil, 6 weeks after treatment).Water soluble P in the soil did not differ among treatments at 6 weeks after treatment (approximately 12 mg P per kg soil for all treatments) but at 47 weeks after treatment plots with the high rate of poultry litter had 30 mg P per kg soil compared with 14 mg P per kg soil in plots treated with commercial fertilizer. In general, Mehlich 1 acid-soluble P did not differ among the litter - and fertilizer-treated plots (averaging 45 mg P per kg soil). Acid-soluble P was lowest in control plots (averaging 21 mg P per kg soil). Results indicate that poultry litter could be used as a weed suppressant without adversely affecting nitrogen release to the environment. However, P mineralization may be problematic and requires further investigation.