Frost Heaving of Soil and Plants. I. Incidence of Frost Heaving of Forage Plants and Meteorological Relationships1
- H. L. Portz2
Frost-heave ratings ranging from minimum to severe were determined from historical data on over-wintering forage condition for a 50-year period in Illinois. Field observations of both plant and dowel uplift were made on frost-susceptible claypan soils in southern Illinois from 1958 to 1966. Associated meteorological and soil conditions were studied to better define and predict the frostheaving action. The 30 winters of moderate to severe winter damage to legumes in southern Illinois occurred on imperfectly drained claypan soils under conditions of high October to January precipitation accompanied by moderate winter temperatures. In central and northern Illinois, only 11 such winters were recorded. Alfalfa varieties differed in their frost-heave susceptibility in 1958 to 1962, ranging from 1.5 cm to over 5 cm of uplift. Soil moisture under a bare-cultivated surface treatment remained near or above field capacity throughout the winter; whereas under tall fescue, the soil moisture in the 15.2− and 30.5− cm layers was below 30% most of the winter. Dowel uplift was 3.3 cm and 0.3 cm in the respective plots. Movement of wooden dowels was compared to alfalfa and red clover seedlings with dowels averaging 2.36 cm and the legume plants 1.16 cm of frost heave. On soils susceptible to frost-heaving antecedent precipitation (Oct. through Jan.) was found to be the major requisite for frost heave. When antecedent precipitation was less than the long-term average, 32.61 cm (12.84 inches) at Mt. Vernon, Ill., there were only 2 winters out of 50 in which severe frost heaving occurred. A final predictive index of antecedent precipitation multiplied by temperature factors gave the best indication of frost-heaving incidence and could be used in assessing winter damage to certain forages in the absence of historical field records.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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