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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 5, p. 1293-1299
    Received: Oct 27, 1986

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Hydraulic Conductivity of Three Southeastern Soils as Affected by Sodium, Electrolyte Concentration, and pH1

  1. S. C. Chiang,
  2. D. E. Radcliffe,
  3. W. P. Miller and
  4. K. D. Newman2



In the humid southeastern USA, little attention is given to the effect of electrolyte concentration or low levels of Na on clay dispersion, although dispersion-related phenomenon such as surface crusting and erosion are common. Our objective was to determine the effect of electrolyte concentration, sodium absorption ratio (SAR), and soil pH on saturated hydraulic conductivity of three soils that differed in parent material. Cores packed with sieved soil at different pHs were leached with 10 pore volumes of solution at varying SAR and electrolyte concentrations. The relative decrease in conductivity during leaching was recorded as a measure of clay dispersion and subsequent clogging of pores. The Cecil soil (Typic Hapludult), which is derived from granitic parent material, was easily dispersed and hydraulic conductivity was sensitive to small changes in electrolyte concentration, SAR, or pH. The Davidson (Rhodic Paleudult) and Iredell (Typic Hapludalf) soils, derived from mafic parent material, were flocculated and insensitive to changes in electrolyte concentration and pH except at very high SAR. The implications are that southeastern soils may differ greatly in structural stability and this may be related to parent material. Dispersive soils need to be identified and managed in an appropriate manner.

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