The abundance and composition of soil ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) communities under different long-term (17 years) fertilization practices were investigated using real-time polymerase chain reaction and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). A sandy loam with pH (H2O) ranging from 8.3 to 8.7 was sampled in years 2006 and 2007, including seven fertilization treatments of control without fertilizers (CK), those with combinations of fertilizer nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K): NP, NK, PK and NPK, half chemical fertilizers NPK plus half organic manure (1/2OMN) and organic manure (OM). The highest bacterial amoA gene copy numbers were found in those treatments receiving N fertilizer. The archaeal amoA gene copy numbers ranging from 1.54 × 107 to 4.25 × 107 per gram of dry soil were significantly higher than those of bacterial amoA genes, ranging from 1.24 × 105 to 2.79 × 106 per gram of dry soil, which indicated a potential role of AOA in nitrification. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria abundance had significant correlations with soil pH and potential nitrification rates. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns revealed that the fertilization resulted in an obvious change of the AOB community, while no significant change of the AOA community was observed among different treatments. Phylogenetic analysis showed a dominance of Nitrosospira-like sequences, while three bands were affiliated with the Nitrosomonas genus. All AOA sequences fell within cluster S (soil origin) and cluster M (marine and sediment origin). These results suggest that long-term fertilization had a significant impact on AOB abundance and composition, while minimal on AOA in the alkaline soil.