Changes in dispersible clay content, organic carbon content, and electrolyte composition following incubation of sodic soil

Nelson, P.N., Baldock, J.A., and Oades, J.M. (1998) Changes in dispersible clay content, organic carbon content, and electrolyte composition following incubation of sodic soil. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 36 (6). pp. 883-897.

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Abstract

Measurement of dispersible clay is important for the diagnosis of structural stability problems in soil. However, clay dispersibility is known to change with water content and time. The purpose of the present study was to determine how incubation of sodic soil under different water content regimes influences clay dispersibility. Two topsoils (depth 0-0·1 m), one sodic [exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) 9 · 7] and the other non-sodic (ESP 3·8), were collected from an experimental pasture at Kyabram, Victoria, and 2 soils, a sodic topsoil (depth 0-0·1 m, ESP 6·9) and the corresponding subsoil (depth 0·2-0 m, ESP 25·7), were collected from a cropped field at Two Wells, South Australia. The soils were incubated for 264 days in a split-plot design. The main treatments were soil type and incubation water content: continuously air-dry, continuously wet (-50 kPa), or with wet/dry cycles. The subtreatment was water content at analysis: air dry or wet (-50 kPa). Clay dispersion was greater when measured on wet soils than dry soils, irrespective of water contents during the prior incubation. Electrical conductivity increased, and sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), pH, and organic carbon content decreased as a function of the time for which the soils were wet. In the Kyabram soils that were wet when analysed, easily dispersible clay content increased with SAR. Decreases in moderately dispersible clay under the wetting/drying regime were not related to electrolyte composition, and were attributed to particle rearrangement and cementation. The decreases in clay dispersibility with time occurred despite net losses of carbohydrate and aliphatic materials. An implication of the work is that the decomposition of soil organic matter, even in the absence of fresh additions, may reduce clay dispersion in sodic soils by altering electrolyte concentration and composition.

Item ID: 19769
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: sodium adsorption ratio, organic matter, pH, water content
ISSN: 1446-568X
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 06:52
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050304 Soil Chemistry (excl Carbon Sequestration Science) @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050305 Soil Physics @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960904 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Land Management @ 100%
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