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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Lime placement on subsoil as a strategy to reduce phosphorus leaching from agricultural soils

Andersson, Helena; Bergström, Lars; Djodjic, Faruk; Ulen, Barbro; Kirchmann, Holger


Leaching of phosphorus (P) from agricultural land is a major contributor to eutrophication of surface waters in many countries, and effective mitigation options to reduce P in leachate are needed. In this study, intact columns (0.77 m deep) of subsoil from three Swedish agricultural soils (one sand and two clay) were used to examine whether placing quicklime (calcium oxide, CaO) on the subsoil could reduce P leaching over a 3-yr period. Leaching of particulate P (PP) was significantly less from clay soil columns with lime than from clay soil columns without (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively), with a relative reduction of 49 and 51% in the two soils. Leaching of dissolved reactive P (DRP) was less from sand columns with lime than from sand columns without, although not significantly so due to large variation in P leaching between columns. These results indicate that placement of lime on subsoil has potential to reduce P leaching, especially of PP from clay soils. However, more studies including both topsoil and subsoil and a range of soil types are needed to assess the full potential of this P mitigation option.


Clay soil; lime; lysimeter; mitigation options; phosphorus leaching; subsoil

Published in

Soil Use and Management
2016, Volume: 32, number: 3, pages: 381-389