Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

D. W. Thorne


D. W. Thorne


Norman Bauer


Zinc is one of the essential elements required for the normal growth plants. The total amount of zinc commonly occurring in soils is usually many times greater than that necessary to supply the needs of actively growing plants. The ability of the soil to "fix" zinc in form unavailable for plant use, however, has made the zinc deficiency disease an important plant nutrition problem in the major fruit and nut growing regions of the West. Fixation mechanisms which have been postulated as contributing to zinc deficiency include organic complexes, precipitation of insoluble inorganic salts, and strong zinc-clay interactions. It may be possible that in certain soils naturally occurring soil minerals, other than the clay minerals, may also exert an influence on the capacity of the soil to retain zinc.

The accumulation of lime minerals is a distinguishing profile characteristic of soils in arid and semi-arid region and semi-arid regions. These minerals include: calcite (CaCO3), dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2), and magnesite (MgCO3). Despite the widespread occurrence of these minerals in the soil system, relatively few data exist which specifically isolate the interaction between cations in solution and the solid phase of the above-named lime minerals.