Vegetative alteration of nitrate fate in unsaturated zone
Journal of Environmental Engineering
DOI of Published Version
A small field site adjacent to a lake in Amana, Iowa was used to investigate the fate of nitrate fertilizer in the unsaturated zone. The fertilizer was applied to a barren plot, a plot planted with corn, and a plot planted with deep-rooted poplar trees (Populus spp.) to study the characteristic behavior of a typical agricultural environment and a novel pollutant-interception technique in comparison to unmanaged land. Nitrate concentrations were lower in the corn and especially the poplar plot due to plant uptake, but concentrations increased markedly in September after the plants began to shut down and nitrification occurred. The poplar trees were most effective in long-term nitrate reduction; they provide perennial interception. Statistical analysis confirmed plant uptake was an important process in the fate of nitrate, and hence, vegetative buffer strips hold promise for protecting water supplies.
Published Article/Book Citation
Journal of Environmental Engineering, 119:5 (1993) pp.986