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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - Soil Physics

Numerical Modeling of Water Fluxes in the Root Zone of a Mature Pecan Orchard


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 75 No. 5, p. 1667-1680
    Received: Mar 4, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): sanjit@nmsu.edu
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  1. Sanjit K. Deb *a,
  2. Manoj K. Shuklaa and
  3. John G. Mexala
  1. a Dep. of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State Univ., MSC 3Q, P.O. Box 30003, Las Cruces, NM 88003


Little is known about the root zone soil water dynamics in irrigated pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] within and outside tree canopies. Simulations were performed using the HYDRUS-1D model to quantify isothermal and thermal water fluxes in the unsaturated zone of a mature pecan orchard in Las Cruces, NM, with and without root water uptake. Simulated water contents and soil temperatures correlated well with measured data at each depth. Isothermal water flux dominated the soil water movement in bare soil immediately after irrigation, while the contribution of vapor flux increased with increasing soil drying because of upward isothermal and much smaller thermal water and vapor fluxes within the 20-cm depth. In contrast, isothermal water flux was predominant throughout the under-canopy soil profile. Actual evaporation from bare soil displayed two distinct stages, immediately after irrigation and after evaporation continued to fall off with soil drying. Immediately after irrigation, trends of under-canopy actual and potential evaporation rates were similar. With the depletion of surface soil water, evaporation losses were lower and actual transpiration due to root water extraction substantially contributed to actual evapotranspiration. Relative evapotranspiration (actual/potential ratio) correlated (P < 0.05) with the pecan stem water potential. The root water uptake pattern followed the root length density distribution immediately after irrigation. Patterns of uncompensated (water stress index [ω] = 1.0) and compensated (0.0 < ω < 1.0) root uptake were similar during early periods after irrigation. Compensated uptake remained higher under water-stressed conditions, and the compensation from the deeper soil profile generally increased for lower values of ω, although not consistently for 0.1 < ω < 0.5.

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Copyright © 2011. Copyright © by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc.