Container Substrate Temperatures Affect Mineralization of Composts

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  • 1 Virginia Cooperative Extension, Danville, VA 24540-2710
  • 2 Department of Soil Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7619
  • 3 Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

Traditional N mineralization studies have been conducted by soil scientists using soils and temperatures found in field production. As temperature, in part, governs the rate of mineralization, and container substrates reach much higher temperatures than do soils, the effect of these elevated temperatures on mineralization must be considered to begin to understand N mineralization in container substrates during production. The N mineralization patterns of three composts [turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) litter, yard waste, and municipal waste] were determined under three temperature regimes (45, 25, and 45/25 °C). More organic N was mineralized from composted turkey litter (CTL) than from municipal or yard composts, regardless of temperature. The percentage of organic N mineralized from CTL was greater at 45/25 and 45 °C than at 25 °C.

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