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Slide 1 - How do chemical fertilizers affect the pH of soil? Erin Flynn December 11, 2003 EDTEP 586
Slide 2 - Initial Model Soil
Slide 3 - Background Information Liquid Miracle-Gro® plant food is a source of ammonium and nitrate, essential nutrients for plant growth. Bacteria in the soil convert ammonium (NH3) to nitrate (NO3). Excess H+ ions in soil cause a decrease in pH. Changes in pH of the soil can adversely affect the plants that grow in it.
Slide 4 - Assumptions The bacteria responsible for the conversion of NH3 to NO3 are present and active in all of my soil samples. The amount of ammonium that was added to the soil samples is enough to disturb the system (i.e. not all H+ released in the conversion of NH3 to NO3 will be bound to negatively charged organic matter in the soil). The buffering capacity of the soil samples is negligible. The amount of time that elapsed through the course of this experiment (3 weeks) is enough time to see a change in pH.
Slide 5 - Methods November 19, 2003 Collected soil samples from four Seattle area parks, in areas where plant life tended to be “wild” (i.e. not landscaped, such as wooded areas). Samples were taken from 6” below the ground surface. Plants within a 20 ft radius of the dig site were surveyed and catalogued. Samples were split into 3: first sample was tested for pH immediately; the second and third were incubated at 68°F for three weeks. 100 ml of sterile water was added to the control sample, and 100 ml of Liquid Miracle-Gro® was added to the experimental sample at a 1:1000 dilution. November 24 & December 2, 2003 20 ml of sterile water was added to all samples. December 9, 2003 pH was tested for all experimental and control samples.
Slide 6 - How did I test the soil pH? Used “color pHast® pH 0-14” strips (EM-Reagents). Placed a pH strip on the bottom of a 5” plastic pot. Covered the strip with a 5” diameter filter paper. Added the soil into the pot. Poured 100 mL of pre-boiled, room temperature, filtered H2O and mixed. Allowed the water to drain out of the pot. Inverted the pot, and read the pH strip while still moist.
Slide 7 - Soil Samples 1: Southwest County Park, Edmonds WA 2: Lincoln Park, West Seattle 3: Carkeek Park, Seattle 4: Discovery Park, Seattle 1 2 3 4
Slide 8 - Data Table pH values of the soil samples at two timepoints. C = control sample (water only added), E = experiment sample (Miracle-Gro® added).
Slide 9 - pH change of soil samples pH This chart shows the change in pH values of the four soil samples plus water control over the three week period. E= ammonium added, C = water only added.
Slide 10 - Why does pH change when ammonium fertilizer is added to the soil? The conversion of ammonium to nitrate releases three H+ ions. If there is no buffering agent in the soil to bind to the free H+, it results in a decrease in pH (increase in acidity) of the soil; if there is, the pH will remain unchanged. If soil is already acidic when ammonium fertilizer is added, denoting a lack of binding materials for free H+, the pH of the soil will only continue to decrease.
Slide 11 - What is the effect on the plants living in this soil? When soil is strongly acidic, the bacteria and other microbes that are responsible for the breakdown of organic material in the soil into useful nutrients for the plant are inhibited. If the pH of the soil is too low, nutrients within the soil may become insoluble, rendering them useless to plants.
Slide 12 - Plants found at sample sites 1 & 2 Site 1: Southwest County Park, Edmonds, WA Sword Fern* Bracken* Salmonberry* Red Huckleberry* Western Hemlock English Elm* English Holly Site 2: Lincoln Park, West Seattle, WA Big Leaf Maple Low Oregon-Grape Western Red Cedar Bracken Western Hemlock * Denotes species that would be at risk of failure at pH = 3.0 found in experiment
Slide 13 - Plants found at sample sites 3 & 4 Site 3: Carkeek Park, Seattle, WA Big Leaf Maple* Trailing Blackberry* Salal* Sword Fern* Western Red Cedar* Atlantic Ivy Low Oregon-Grape* Red Huckleberry* Site 4: Discovery Park, Seattle, WA Big Leaf Maple Lady Fern Sword Fern Trailing Blackberry Atlantic Ivy Western Red Cedar Low Oregon-Grape Western Hemlock * Denotes species that would be at risk of failure at pH = 3.0 found in experiment
Slide 14 - The Survivors English Holly NON-NATIVE Atlantic Ivy NON-NATIVE Western Hemlock NATIVE
Slide 15 - Revised Model soil texture Soil organic matter rainfall in health of plants living in this soil Bacteria temperature NH3 NO3 soil 3H+ soil pH horizon soil type Miracle-Gro®
Slide 16 - Fertilizers should be applied with extreme caution!!! Make sure you test the pH of your soil before adding ANY commercial fertilizer. Carefully check to see what types of chemicals and nutrients your particular plant food contains. Do not over-fertilize … more is definitely not better.
Slide 17 - THANK YOU! Websites: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0009D21B-BDB0-1C72-9EB7809EC588F2D7&catID=2 http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00029C3D-E295-1CCE-B4A8809EC588EEDF&catID=1 http://bordeaux.uwaterloo.ca/biology447/modules/module8/soil/chap2f.htm http://www.extension.iastate.edu/carroll/crops/fertilizer_and_soil_ph.htm http://www.soils.wisc.edu/~bleam/SS230_FAQ98C.html http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/ferns/pteridiumaqui.html http://www.laspilitas.com/plants/526.htm http://rcgardens.ca/factsheets/factsheets/fernfacts.html http://www.laspilitas.com/plants/676.htm http://www.laspilitas.com/plants/1095.htm http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/components/1731-29.html http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/tsuga/heterophylla.htm http://eesc.orst.edu/agcomwebfile/edmat/html/ec/ec1303/ec1303.html http://reference.allrefer.com/wildlife-plants-animals/plants/shrub/vacpar/botanical-ecological-characteristics.html http://www.biodiversity.org.uk/ibs/envmath/resources/year3/env324/moffatt/HTMLfiles/i_aquifolium.htm http://www.crescentbloom.com/Plants/Specimen/GA/Gaultheria%20shallon.htm