Root Induced Heterogeneity In Agricultural Soils

C. Gomes, R. Gabai, N. Weisbrod, A. Furman

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract

Abstract

In this study we investigate the role of plant induced heterogeneity on water dynamics in agricultural soils. We conducted three experiments in two sites (one still ongoing) in which a trench was excavated in the root zone of an orchard and the subsurface, to a depth of over 1 m, was instrumented in high resolution with water content, water potential and temperature sensors. High temporal resolution monitoring of soil state was carried for over a year, period that included natural (Mediterranean) climate boundary forcing. In addition, sprinkler, flood, and spray irrigation boundary conditions were forced for short time periods to explore the infiltration process under these conditions. One site was an Avocado orchard planted in red sandy soil while the other, still on-going, is in a grape vineyards irrigated by tap and treated wastewater, planted over alluvial clayey soil. In the vineyard, we are comparing soil irrigated with fresh water to soil irrigated with treated waste water for more than 10 years. Our preliminary results indicate several interesting phenomena. First, the role of plant roots is clearly seen as the major roots act as a conduit for water (and solute), providing a fast bypass of the upper soil. Further, we identified different regions of the subsurface that apparently were of the same texture, but in practice presented very different hydraulic properties. Second, the role of these roots depends on the boundary conditions. That is, the root bypass acts differently when soil is flooded than when flow is strictly unsaturated. As expected, simulation of the experimental results show good fit only if the domain heterogeneity of soil properties was incorporated. Results for the clayey soils were not available at time of abstract submission.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Abstracts
Volume11
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012

Keywords

  • 1842 HYDROLOGY / Irrigation
  • 1865 HYDROLOGY / Soils
  • 1875 HYDROLOGY / Vadose zone
  • 1895 HYDROLOGY / Instruments and techniques: monitoring

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