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Soil and Water Science

UF/IFAS Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences Extension faculty translate current and relevant soil and water science knowledge into user-friendly form for Florida residents, visitors, industry, business, governmental agencies and county agents.

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Editorial Team

  • aaguirre1 - ICS Editor
  • Rao Mylavarapu - Editor
  • Matt Whiles - Chair, Approver


UF/IFAS Analytical Services Laboratories (ANSERV Labs): Analytical Procedures and Training Manual

SS312/CIR 1248by Rao S. Mylavarapu, Nancy Wilkinson, and Yvens JeanJanuary 30th, 2024The UF/IFAS Analytical Services Laboratories (ANSERV labs) have been in operation, under slightly different names, for nearly 70 years. Since 2008, the ANSERV Labs have been reorganized to accomplish specific research and cooperative extension service missions through two sections in each area- Analytical Research (ARL) and NELAC Certified Environmental Water Quality Labs (EWQL) for all researchers and students and Extension Soil Testing (ESTL) and Livestock Waste Testing Labs (LWTL) for all citizens and agencies of Florida.  The procedures described in this manual reflect the current methodologies for agricultural testing offered by the UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratory (ESTL), the Livestock Waste Testing Laboratory (LWTL), the Analytical Research Laboratory (ARL), and the Environmental Water Quality Laboratory (EWQL). This Circular replaces previous information that is contained in other UF/IFAS publications.Critical Issue: Other

Effects of Urban Fertilizer Ordinances on Water Quality

SS724/SL511by Alexander J. Reisinger, Michael D. Dukes, Basil V. Iannone III, J. Bryan Unruh, and Samuel J. SmidtJanuary 18th, 2024Originating from environmental or humans sources, too much nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) in water bodies can degrade water quality. In an attempt to reduce the contribution of human sources of N and P to local waters, urban fertilizer ordinances have been adopted in at least 35 counties in Florida and 97 additional Florida municipalities. Despite this work, the efficacy of fertilizer ordinances are debated by end users. The purpose of this publication is to summarize a peer-reviewed, scientific article that investigated impacts of fertilizer on long-term water quality trends in Florida lakes (Smidt et al. 2022) and is intended to be used by UF/IFAS Extension faculty and/or regulatory officials considering adopting or modifying an urban fertilizer ordinance. We encourage green industry professionals and concerned community members to share the effectiveness of fertilizer ordinances.Critical Issue: Water Quality and Conservation

Rhizosphere Microbes and the Roles They Play in Crop Production and Soil Health

SS723/SL510by Hui-Ling LiaoOctober 25th, 2023Each gram of rich soil can harbor 100 million to a billion microorganisms, meaning every inch of our soil is alive (Raynaud and Nunan 2014) (Fig. 1). These underground organisms keep soil healthy. Balancing the community of microbes can benefit plant yield, plant health, and soil sustainability. While it is recognized that many soil microbes perform key roles in crop productivity, the importance of these underground activities is easily overlooked because of their small size. By focusing on a specific group of microbes living on or near plant roots, this publication provides understanding for these questions: Who are these microbes and how do they improve plant and soil health?Critical Issue: Natural Resources and Environment

Current and Emerging Protocols for Carbon Measurement in Agricultural Soils

SS721/SL508by Suraj Melkani, Noel Manirakiza, Shirley M. Baker, and Jehangir H. BhadhaOctober 19th, 2023Soils have the capacity to function as a sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide and are crucial for climate regulation. Soil have the potential to store around 1.5 to 2.4 trillion metric tons of C in the soil globally. They contain large C pools that can store three times more C than the atmosphere and four times more than plants. These massive C sinks have the potential to reverse soil degradation, mitigate climate change, and enhance food security. It is therefore essential to monitor the C cycle by accurately measuring the amount of soil C in agricultural fields. This can help in developing sustainable management practices that can minimize C emissions and sequester C into the soil from the atmosphere. This publication describes the various current and emerging protocols that can be used to measure soil C.Critical Issue: Natural Resources and Environment

Biological Soil Crusts in Agroecosystems

SS719/SL506by Kira Sorochkina, Clayton J. Nevins, Patrick W. Inglett, and Sarah L. StraussOctober 4th, 2023Biological soil crusts, or biocrusts, are communities of microorganisms that form on the surface of soils, often found in deserts around the world. However, they can also occur in agroecosystems and potentially contribute nutrients to plants growing nearby. This publication is for those interested in learning more about what biocrusts look like and how they can impact agricultural soils.  Critical Issue: Natural Resources and Environment