Current issue: 53(2)
Under compilation: 53(3)
Physical soil properties have a marked influence on the quality of forest sites and on the preconditions for forest growth and management. In this study, water retention characteristics (WRC) and related physical soil properties in addition to vegetation coverage and tree stand data were studied at upland forest sites in Finland. Fixed and mixed models between soil and site characteristics were formed to estimate physical and hydrologic soil characteristics and the site quality with indirect co-varying variables. In the present data, the site quality index (H100) shows a high coefficient of determination in respect to the temperature sum. It is also related to soil fine fraction content, topsoil pH and water retention at field capacity. The thickness of the humus layer is predictable from the pH and cover of xeric and mesic plant species. The soil fine fraction content (clay + silt) is closely related to water retention at field capacity, the soil layer and site type, and without WRC to the temperature sum and site index and type, as well as the slope angle. The soil bulk density is related to organic matter, depth (layer) or alternatively to organic matter, slope and field estimated textural class (fine, medium, coarse). Water retention characteristics were found to be best determinable by the fine fraction content, depth and bulk density. Water content and air-filled porosity at field capacity are closely related to the fine fraction. This study provides novel models for further investigations that aim at improved prediction models for forest growth, hydrology and trafficability.
The water retention characteristics and their variation in tree nurseries and related physical properties were determined for commercially produced growth media made of light slightly humified Sphagnum peat. A total of 100 samples of peat media were collected from filled seedling trays in the greenhouses of four Finnish nurseries in 1990. In addition, the physical properties were determined for two growth media made of compressed peat sheets and chips. The variation in water retention characteristics in nurseries was described using linear models with fixed and random effects. The sources of variation in the mixed linear models were producer, grade, batch (greenhouse) and sample (tray).
The water retention of the peat media at different matric potentials was comparable to that given in the literature. The media shrank an average of 0–16% during desorption. The peat grades were finer than the Nordic quality standards for peat growth media. Particles < 1 mm increased and particles 1–5 mm decreased the water retention characteristics measured. The greatest total variation in water retention was at -1 kPa. The water retention of the peat media differed least at -5 and -10 kPa. The water retention characteristics of media from different producers usually differed significantly. The grades, on the other hand, did not differ from each other in their water retention characteristics nor were there significant interactions between producer and grade. The batch effect was marked but was lower than the effect within batches, where the sample (tray) effect was greater than the effect due to random measurement error. At -10 kPa, the measurement error was, however, clearly greater than the sample effect. The random measurement error was comparable to the batch effect. Aeration of the growth media is dependent on the water content retained between saturation and -1 kPa. The water availability to seedlings at the nursery phase is affected mainly by water retention between -1 and -10 kPa.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
The matrix potential, measured with tensiometers, and its effect on the soil air-water ratio were examined during the production of bare-rooted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings in nursery fields. Soil water potential was monitored during the growing season of 1983 at three nurseries in Finland, and from fields growing various seedling types at depths of 10 and 20 cm. In 1986, soil core samples were collected in order to assess the water desorption characteristics of the soil. In addition, the effect of polypropylene gauze covering (Agryl P 17) on the soil water potential was examined during the growing season of 1985 at two nurseries in Finland at depths of 5, 10 and 15 cm.
The soil water potential was relatively high in all the fields studied. In fields growing one- and two-year-old seedlings, the median potential was higher than -10 kPa. The potential did not fall below the limit of the measured scale (ca. -85 kPa) of the tensiometers. Soil aeriation may have been periodically insufficient in the rooting zone, as a result of high water content. The favourable water potential is below -5 to – 6 kPa. The gauze covering slightly (1–4 kPa) increased the soil water potential, an effect which could be harmful if the soil air space is low. During the second growing season, the soil water potential was lower in the fields covered by the gauze during the first year than in the fields without the covering.
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The aims of the present study were to determine physical and physio-chemical properties of some Finnish forest tree nursery soils, and to examine relationships between these properties and the amount of organic matter in the soil.
The following soil tillage layer properties of 33 fields belonging to 8 forest tree nurseries were determined: soil particle size distribution, organic matter content, bulk density and density of solids, total pore space, soil water volume at potentials pF 2.0 and 4.2, available water content and air space at potential pF 2.0, active acidity, electrical conductivity index and cation exchange capacities at pH 4.5 and 8.0. The soil texture class of the tillage layer parent material was sand, only in a few cases did higher percentage of silt and clay indicate a morainic nature of parent material. The amount of organic material in the soils varied within wide limits, reflecting differences in amelioration policy between the single nurseries.
Relationships between the physical properties of the soil parent material and those related to fertility were in most cases strongly influenced by the amount of soil organic matter. Soil density values decreased as the organic matter content increased from 2 to 25%, giving rise to the increase in the total pore space. However, the amount of water held at potential pF 2.0 and the available water content did not increase with increasing organic matter content. This was due to the absence of the particle fraction in the sand. Nursery soil amelioration, involving in most cases a mixture of Sphagnum peat with sand, thus gives rise to an increase in the content of drainable water.
Cation exchange capacities were positively correlated with the organic matter content. However, the absolute number of exchange sites expressed as equivalents in the tillage layer did not increase in accordance with the increase in organic matter content due to the influence of the organic matter content upon the ratio of solids in the voids.
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The paper is a part of a larger study of the basic hydrologic properties of peat. This part of the study deals with the hydraulic conductivity and water retention capacity of peat and with their dependence on some of its structural properties. The data of the study was collected in Central Finland (61°50'N; 24°20'E) from drained peatlands. The limits of the quantitative range of variation in the hydraulic conductivity of peat can be put at 2.0 x 10-6 and 1.1 x 1O-2 cm/sec. The variation occurring in the hydraulic conductivity of peat is extremely large. At saturation peat contains 82–95 volume per cent of water. The bulk density of peat seemed to be the factor best able to explain its water retention capacity. The quantity of water which can be removed from a site by draining decreases with increasing bulk density in such a way that it, in the case of well decomposed peat (bulk density 0.20 g/cm3) is slightly less than one third of that for slightly decomposed peat (bulk density 0.05 g/cm3). Also, the possibilities to estimate the quantities of water superfluous, available and unavailable to the plant cover is discussed.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.