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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Effects of Petroleum Mulch on Soil Water Content and Soil Temperature1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 5, p. 783-786
    Received: Oct 18, 1968
    Accepted: June 5, 1969

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  1. Ahang Kowsar,
  2. L. Boersma and
  3. G. D. Jarman2



Changes in soil temperature and soil water content of mulched and unmulched soil, subjected to the same radiation load, were measured at 2-hour intervals under controlled laboratory conditions. Soil was packed into boxes with inside dimensions of 40.0 by 4.0 by 50.0 cm at a pre-determined water content. Part of the soil surface was covered with petroleum mulch. The soil was subjected to a diurnal temperature cycle by varying the output of infrared heat lamps.

At a depth of 1 cm the mulch-covered soil was 5C warmer than the bare soil at the time the soil temperatures attained their maximum value. At all other times the temperature difference between mulched and bare soil was smaller. The bare soil rapidly lost water in the upper 4 cm. The mulch-covered soil lost water in the upper 1 cm of soil but gained water at depths below this zone. This gain in water in the zone where seedlings are normally placed, indicates that the beneficial effect of petroleum mulch on germination and seedling growth must be attributed to improved soil water conditions as well as to improved soil temperature conditions.

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