The volatilization of ammonia from simulated urine applied to small columns of soil was reduced by the presence of ryegrass growing in the soil. The ryegrass had been sown 18 weeks previously and had been cut on seven occasions to a height of 5–6 cm with the cut herbage removed. Cumulative volatilization over 8 days amounted to 39% of the urinary N from bare soil, and 23% in the presence of the ryegrass. In contrast, the volatilization of ammonia was increased by dead leaf litter placed on the soil surface, apparently due to the increase in surface area for urease activity and volatilization. Differences in the C:N ratio of the leaf litter over the range 13:1–29:1 had little effect on the extent of ammonia volatilization. When living ryegrass and dead leaf litter were examined together, the reduction in volatilization due to the ryegrass was the dominant effect.