CSES 5023/6026 Nutrient Management


Students will learn advanced concepts of soil fertility, fertilizer use and plant response to fertilizers.

In this course students will learn about:
  • Cation exchange capacity – in depth.  Methods for measurement, effects on soil fertility and crop response.  Base saturation.  The relationship between base saturation and crop yield.  Anion exchange.   
  • Nutrient up take by plants.  Ion exchange.  Root versus foliar. 
  • Liming and pH.  Buffering.  The role of aluminum.  Lime quality – calculations. 
  • Soil pH and effects on nutrient availability.
  • Liming materials.  Snake-oils in the lime industry, such as liquid lime.   Materials for lowering pH.
  • Nitrogen – the N cycle
  • Phosphorus and start of Potassium.   Potassium and clay mineralogy. 
  • Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur.  Micronutrients. 
  • Fertilizer sources, placement and rates.    
  • Fertilizer calculations and environmental effects of fertilizers. 
  • Leaching, run-off, state regulations about fertilizer use. 
  • Soil testing and the role of soil testing in fertilizer recommendations.  Calibration curves and soil tests.
  • Legumes.  Green manures.  Cover crops.  Free living N fixing organisms.  Yet more snake oils.

3 credits



Soil Fertility and Fertilizers.  Havlin et al.  8th edition.  It is a really expensive text and thus is not required.  It is an excellent reference, however, and if you are considering a career in this area you should consider purchase of this text.

For More Information

For More Information:
Photo of Elizabeth Guertal
Beth Guertal
Professor (Soil Science, Turf)
263 Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849