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Katharina M. Keiblinger, Lisa M. Bauer, Evi Deltedesco, Franz Holawe, Hans Unterfrauner, Franz Zehetner and Robert Peticzka

Abstract

Agricultural intensification, especially enhanced mechanisation of soil management, can lead to the deterioration of soil structure and to compaction. A possible amelioration strategy is the application of (structural) lime. In this study, we tested the effect of two different liming materials, ie limestone (CaCO3) and quicklime (CaO), on soil aggregate stability in a 3-month greenhouse pot experiment with three agricultural soils. The liming materials were applied in the form of pulverised additives at a rate of 2 000 kg ha−1. Our results show a significant and instantaneous increase of stable aggregates after quicklime application whereas no effects were observed for limestone. Quicklime application seems to improve aggregate stability more efficiently in soils with high clay content and cation exchange capacity. In conclusion, quicklime application may be a feasible strategy for rapid improvement of aggregate stability of fine textured agricultural soils.