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The effect of a dense soil layer and varying air-water relations on the growth, root development, and nutrient uptake of cotton in commerce silt loam


, : The effect of a dense soil layer and varying air-water relations on the growth, root development, and nutrient uptake of cotton in commerce silt loam. Soil Sci Soc Amer Proc 20(4): 447-453

Studies were made of a Commerce silt loam traffic pan soil at St. Joseph, La., to determine the cause of the poor productivity in droughty field areas locally known as "hotspots" The pan in the problem area was only slightly more dense and less permeable than that of the productive areas. Large cylinders (10 by 24 inches) of soil were cut undisturbed and placed in a covered pit with the surface exposed. Restricted drainage, with a water table maintained at 24 inches, reduced oxygen diffusion and retarded the growth of cotton planted in the cylinders. Supplemental aeration provided by perforating some of the walls of the cylinders had very little effect on oxygen diffusion or plant growth. Reduced oxygen diffusion in this soil was associated with lower nitrogen uptake but had little effect on the uptake of potassium since the soil supply was sufficient to allow for luxury consumption by the cotton plants. It appears that a combination of factors affecting air-water relationships and root extension are responsible for these problem areas in fields of the lower Mississippi River Delta areas.

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