Natural soils change by long-term pedogenetic mechanisms, but tillage effects can also strongly affect the evolution of soils, mainly their physicochemical properties. The present paper describes the impact of fertilizers and amendments on soil mineralogy in experimental plots, without plant interaction.
The soils of the 42 plots experiment at the INRA experimental station in Versailles (France) have been managed with fertilizers without plant growth since 1929. Strong changes in pH were observed and cation exchange capacities doubled between low and high pH (from 3.6 to 8.2). Strong acidification caused more evolution in the clay particle distribution without selective action on the clay composition.
While the clay content varied only slightly, the organic matter content changed considerably, decreasing with non-organic treatment and increasing in the plot with manure treatment. The major clay minerals in the experimental plots are two disordered illite-smectite mixed-layer minerals, with minor amounts of illite/mica and kaolinite. Most treatments effected only minor changes in clay mineralogy. However the illite (non-expandable mineral) content increased in plots with K addition either as KCl treatment or in manure amendments by increasing the illite content and the illite (non-expandable layer) content of the I-S minerals. Manure changed the I-S mineral to a greater extent.