Sulfur and lime affect soil pH and nutrients in a sandy Pinus taeda nursery

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David B South
Ryan L Nadel
Scott A Enebak
Gene Bickerstaff


Two pH experiments were conducted at a sandy, bareroot loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) nursery in Texas. A sulfur trial (0, 813, 1626, 2439 kg ha-1 of elemental sulfur) was installed to determine if lowering soil pH would result in nutrient toxicity symptoms and affect seedling morphology. Although soil acidity in the sulfur study ranged from pH 3.9 to pH 5.0, none of the treatments resulted in micronutrient toxicity and none affected height growth, root-collar diameter, root mass, shoot mass or the root-mass ratio (root dry mass/total dry mass). Acidifying soil with sulfur increased leaching of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc but there was no effect on seedling morphology. The objective of the liming trial (0, 813, 1626, 3252 kg ha-1 of dolomitic lime) was to determine if increasing alkalinity would result in an iron deficiency and reduce seedling growth. As expected, applying lime increased the calcium and magnesium levels but had no effect on soil levels of iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, zinc and sodium. However, the root-mass ratio was reduced by applications of dolomitic lime (pH ranged from 5.3 to 6.0). Differences in soil properties (i.e. plot location) had a greater effect on seedling morphology than lime applications. Foliage levels of manganese and boron were reduced by the highest rate of lime and sulfur, respectively.


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How to Cite
South, David B, Ryan L Nadel, Scott A Enebak, and Gene Bickerstaff. “Sulfur and Lime Affect Soil PH and Nutrients in a Sandy Pinus Taeda Nursery”. REFORESTA0, no. 4 (December 30, 2017): 12-20. Accessed September 24, 2023.
Author Biographies

David B South, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, AL 36849-5418

Emeritus Professor

Ryan L Nadel, School of Forestry and Wildlife Science, Auburn University, AL 36849-5418

Research Fellow

Scott A Enebak, School of Forestry and Wildlife Science, Auburn University, AL 36849-5418

Professor of Forest Pathology

Gene Bickerstaff, R.O. Barham SuperTree Nursery, P.O. Box 947, Bullard, TX, 75757