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Compost Quality Recommendations for Remediating Urban Soils
Open AccessArticle

Measuring the Fate of Compost-Derived Phosphorus in Native Soil below Urban Gardens

Biology Department, University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, MN 55105, USA
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3998;
Received: 24 September 2019 / Revised: 14 October 2019 / Accepted: 16 October 2019 / Published: 19 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
The heavy reliance on compost inputs in urban gardening provides opportunities to recycle nutrients from the urban waste stream, but also creates potential for buildup and loss of soil phosphorus (P). We previously documented P in leachate from raised-bed garden plots in which compost had been applied, but the fate of this P is not known. Here, we measured P concentrations in soils below four or six-year-old urban garden plots that were established for research. We hypothesize that the soil P concentration and depth of P penetration will increase over time after gardens are established. Soil cores were collected in five garden plots of each age and quantified for inorganic weakly exchangeable P. Inorganic weakly exchangeable P was significantly elevated in native soil below garden plots (>35 cm deep) relative to reference soil profiles, and excess P decreased with increasing depth, although differences between garden plots of different ages were not significant. Our analysis shows that excess P from compost accumulates in native soil below urban garden plots. While urban agriculture has the potential to recycle P in urban ecosystems, over-application of compost has the potential to contribute to soil and water pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; nutrient; leachate; phosphorus; soil; garden urban agriculture; nutrient; leachate; phosphorus; soil; garden
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Small, G.E.; Osborne, S.; Shrestha, P.; Kay, A. Measuring the Fate of Compost-Derived Phosphorus in Native Soil below Urban Gardens. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3998.

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