Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Josef Gorres


The working hypothesis for this study was that small elevation differences in field depressions affect the availability of redox active nutrients because the bottom of the depression remains waterlogged and in reducing conditions longer than the edge of the depression. Mn, Fe, S and P availabilities were investigated in a field depression with a 20 meter radius and 0.5 meter depth on a flood-prone, organic vegetable farm. One depression (Depression 1) was sampled seven times during three field seasons (May 2012-June 2014). The last two dates included sampling in an additional three depressions to allow a comparison among depressions on the same date. Sampling dates were categorized by the severity of flooding into the three following kinds of events: Post-Irene, Peak, and Non-Peak. The Post-Irene category includes sampling dates in the agricultural season following prolonged snow melt and flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Sampling dates in the Peak category occurred within 30 days after one of the the top 12 greatest rainfalls, snowfalls, or heights of Winooski River Gage in the 30 month sampling period. Sampling on Non-Peak events occurred at least one month after a preceding Peak event.

Repeated waterlogging events can increase redox cycling directly affecting the interchange of Mn, Fe, and S oxides and the soil solution. Indirectly, waterlogging can increase phosphorus release into the soil solution by reduction of iron. The results of this experiment indicate that some redox-sensitive soil nutrients correlated with elevation on some dates regardless of event type. Mn was more consistently affected by waterlogging events than Fe and S. Any relationship between sulfur and elevation may have been obscured by the strong relationship of sulfur with organic matter. This data suggests that phosphorus availability depended to some extent on available iron concentration.



Number of Pages

117 p.

Included in

Soil Science Commons