By W. Ehlers, M. Goss

Whereas there are numerous books to be had on plant nutrients and body structure and others on soil physics and hydrology, there are few that mix those topics in a single quantity. This ebook goals to fill this hole within the literature by means of supplying an built-in method of water dynamics in plant and crop construction. it's partially a translation of an prior paintings in German through Dr Ehlers, which has been up to date and multiplied to incorporate extra overseas examples.

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Water movement will always be driven by the hydraulic gradient ∆φ/∆z, and in the soil φ is composed of the gravitational potential Z and the matric potential Ψ. The physical cause of the matric potential Ψ is the adsorption of water molecules at the surfaces of inorganic and organic soil particles, the soil matrix. Let us imagine water from a supply reservoir is rising through dry soil in a glass cylinder. The rise is caused by capillary action in the upward direction, the direction of the z coordinate (Fig.

Hydraulic conductivity functions for a sandy loam, a silt loam and a clay loam soil. The respective values for saturated hydraulic conductivity are presented by a dot. In an aggregated clay soil the saturated conductivity is greater than in a massive clay soil. corresponding soil moisture characteristic curves (Fig. 1). Compared with the silt and the clay loam soil, the unsaturated conductivity of the sandy loam soil declines sharply with increasing water tension and the diminishing effective diameter of the water conducting pores.

The large percentage of fine pores (< 3 µm in diameter) explains the relatively high level of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of clay soils in the ‘dry’ range at pF values > 3 (Fig. 1). Example 4 introduces water flow causing a change in soil water content. From that example we generally formulate the principle of mass conser- vation: the divergence of the fluxes of a material causes a change in the content of that material. 2 is also known as the equation of continuity. 1), thus obtaining the so-called Richards equation: dθ/dt = d(K(Ψ) .

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