Nutrient properties of wetlands are primary evaluated by soil chemical analysis. Therefore, appropriately collecting and storing waterlogged soil samples is crucial to accurately representing in situ soil-nutrient conditions. A west Texas playa wetland and surrounding outerbasin soils were sampled to compare the effects of three soil storage techniques on various chemical constituents. Techniques evaluated were the following: (1) drying at room temperature, (2) freezing, and (3) purging with nitrogen gas. Drying and freezing are typical methods used in storing terrestrial soils. We hypothesized that the purging technique would facilitate an anaerobic environment and inhibit aerobic chemical transformations. Soils were analyzed for total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), NO3 NO2-N, NH4-N, extractable P, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, and pH. Values for NO3 NO2-N and Cu were significantly greater in dried samples than both frozen and purged samples, and generally were significantly lower in pH. Based on this study, we recommend that wetland soils not be dried before analysis.
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Vol. 20 • No. 1