The objective of this study was to determine the effects of composted poultry litter (CPL) on the physical and chemical properties of a loamy sand soil. To accomplish this, a loamy sand soil, amended with 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50% by volume with CPL, was placed in 3.8-liter (#1) container for 13 weeks. Substrate pH increased with increasing rates of CPL. For most landscape plants, pH was in the recommended range (5.5 ≤ pH ≤ 6.5) at 10% to 30% CPL incorporation. Cation exchange capacity, available P, exchangeable K, Ca, and Mg increased linearly with increasing rates of CPL. The 20% amendment rate raised the available P, exchangeable K, Ca, and Mg to levels within the recommended range for landscape plants (N.C. Dept, of Agr.). Total porosity and unavailable water increased linearly with increasing rate of CPL amendment from 42% to 55.5% and 4% to 30.2%, respectively. Bulk density decreased linearly with increasing CPL concentration. Water content and available water capacity increased with increasing CPL rates. CPL amended soil had a 100% to 116% increase in available water capacity, compared to unamended soil. Amending soil with CPL reduced air space 3% to 36% with the largest decrease occurring between 20% and 30% CPL. This data supports the use of composted poultry litter to improve the chemical and physical properties of a loamy sand soil.

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Author notes

This research was funded by the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, Raleigh, NC 27695-7643. Technical assistance of Beth Thome, William Reece, and Jerome Brewster is gratefully acknowledged.

2Associate Professors.