Crops have different strategies to acquire poorly-available soil phosphorus (P) which are dependent on their architectural, morphological, and physiological root traits, but their capacity to enhance P acquisition varies with the type of fertilizer applied. The objective of this study was to examine how P-acquisition strategies of three main crops are affected by the application of sewage sludges, compared with a mineral P fertilizer. We carried out a 3-months greenhouse pot experiment and compared the response of P-acquisition traits among wheat, barley and canola in a soil amended with three sludges or a mineral P fertilizer. Results showed that the P-acquisition strategy differed among crops. Compared with canola, wheat and barley had a higher specific root length and a greater root carboxylate release and they acquired as much P from sludge as from mineral P. By contrast, canola shoot P content was greater with sludge than with mineral P. This was attributed to a higher root-released acid phosphatase activity which promoted the mineralization of sludge-derived P-organic. This study showed that contrasted P-acquisition strategies of crops allows increased use of renewable P resources by optimizing combinations of crop and the type of P fertilizer applied within the cropping system.