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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 1, p. 13-17
    Received: Mar 28, 1962



Soil Temperature and Soil Freezing as Affected by an Organic Mulch1

  1. Helmut Kohnke and
  2. C. H. Werkhoven2



Temperatures and the occurrence of freezing and thawing of mulched and bare soil at 1-, 4-, and 10-inch depths were recorded during a 5-year period. A silt loam of fair drainage with a slight southern slope near Lafayette, Indiana was selected.

Average daily temperatures of mulched and bare soil varied only slightly: in winter the mulched soil was warmer by 1° or 2°F. This difference increased to 3° or 4°F. in the summer. Daily temperature fluctuations at the 1-inch depth were twice as large in the bare soil as in the mulched soil. In the spring the soil temperature maxima reached favorable corn germination levels about 2 weeks earlier in the bare than in the mulched soil. At the 1-inch depth the frequency of freezing and thawing was 3.6 times as great in the bare soil as in the mulched soil. At the lower depths these differences were less intense.

Twice as much total heat energy reached the one-inch depth in the bare soil as in the mulched soil but the net heat energy retained was essentially identical in both treatments.

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