Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Lincoln, Nebraska » Agroecosystem Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #205609

Title: Carbon Source and Placement Effects on Soil Aggregation and C Pools

item Wienhold, Brian
item Wilhelm, Wallace

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/9/2006
Publication Date: 11/1/2006
Citation: Wienhold, B.J., Wilhelm, W.W. 2006. Carbon Source and Placement Effects on Soil Aggregation and C Pools. In Annual meeting abstract [CD-ROM]. ASA, CSSA, SSSA. Madison, WI.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil organic C is an important soil property having implications for nutrient cycling, soil water dynamics, and soil physical structure. A field study was initiated in 2002 to determine if quality and placement of C affected soil organic C and soil aggregation. Sources of C included none, sugar, flour (starch), paper (high C:N), wood chips (lignified cellulose), alfalfa pellets (low C:N), wheat, and switchgrass. Wheat and switchgrass treatments consisted of three plots each with C inputs either from aboveground residue (fallow until plant harvest), roots (aboveground residue removed at harvest and placed on fallow plot), or aboveground residue and roots. During 2005 soil respiration, soil microbial biomass, and labile C were measured four times. In 2002 and 2005 aggregate size distribution and aggregate stability were measured. In plots having no vegetation there was a decrease in 2- to 8-mm diameter aggregates and in increase in aggregates in smaller size fractions. Where wheat or swithgrass was present there was no change in aggregate size distribution. Soil respiration was related to soil microbial biomass and labile C in wheat and swithgrass plots but not in plots receiving other C sources. Preliminary conclusions are that physical protection of the soil surface from physical degradation and erosion is essential for maintaining SOC and aggregation. Physical protection is more important than C quality.