Current issue: 53(4)
The changed in size and shape of ditches made by draining plows and tractor diggers were followed over a one-year period after the draining in four different peatland types. The material consists of 51 ditches made with each method in dwarf-shrub pine bog, herb-rich spruce swamp, in herb-rich sedge bog and sedge pine bog. The measurements were made immediately after the digging, and one month and a year later.
Ditches made by plowing and surrounded by peat became shallower quickly during the first 2–3 days after plowing due to the pressure of the surrounding peat. Ditches made with tractor diggers did not become shallower as fast, and their bottom did not widen to the same extent than plown ditched. During the first year, machine-made ditches change in a same way as handmade ditches, especially when compared to ditches made by tractor digger.
Immediately after digging the ditches made by tractor digger were 10 cm deeper and 0.13 m3 larger than plown ditches. One year later the values were 7,5 cm and 0.09 m3, respectively. Plown ditches made in the peat were 14.4 cm deeper than ditches that penetrated into the subsoil, for tractor digger the value was 13.2 cm. Ditches made with a tractor digger were deeper than plown ditches both in soils with deep and shallow peat layer.
The changes were largest and fastest in the wettest peatland type herb-rich sedge bog. In herb-rich spruce swamps, which have a shallow peat layer, the shallower plown ditches kept their form better than ditches dug by tractor digger.
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