About Us | Help Videos | Contact Us | Subscriptions

Vadose Zone Journal : Just Published


Accepted, edited articles are published here after author proofing to provide rapid publication and better access to the newest research. Articles are compiled into issues at dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/vzj, which includes the complete archive.

Citation | Articles posted here are considered published and may be cited by the doi.

Kato, C., T. Nishimura, H. Imoto, and T. Miyazaki. 2011. Predicting soil moisture and temperature of Andisols under a monsoon climate in Japan. Vadose Zone J. doi:10.2136/vzj2010.0054

Current issue: Vadose Zone J. 16(10)


    • Jesús Rodrigo Comino, Igor Bogunovic, Hadis Mohajerani, Paulo Pereira, Artemi Cerdà, José Damián Ruiz Sinoga and Johannes B. Ries
      The Impact of Vineyard Abandonment on Soil Properties and Hydrological Processes

      Soil and water resources are affected by land use changes such as land abandonment in vineyards. Changes in water resources and soil water dynamics can result in sudden alterations in erosion rates and trigger land degradation. In this study, we examined the impact of land abandonment on soil properties and hydrological processes in two paired plots: an active and an abandoned vineyard. Laboratory analyses were performed to assess texture, antecedent soil moisture, stoniness, soil water content, and organic matter (OM). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • A Guelph permeameter was used to quantify water movements.
      • The active vineyard had higher permeability and saturated conductivity than the abandoned one.
      • Vineyard soils showed a higher variability among seasons and slope positions.
      • In the abandoned plot, there was a high correlation with gravel, OM, and clay content.
      • In the vineyard, human impacts on the soil did not allow any key factor to be obtained.

      Published: October 20, 2017


    • S.E. Vero, G.L. Macpherson, P.L. Sullivan, A.E. Brookfield, J.B. Nippert, M.F. Kirk, S. Datta and P. Kempton
      Developing a Conceptual Framework of Landscape and Hydrology on Tallgrass Prairie:A Critical Zone Approach

      Agricultural intensification and urbanization have greatly reduced the extent of tallgrass prairie across North America. To evaluate the impact of these changes, a reference ecosystem of unperturbed prairie is required. The Konza Prairie Biological Station in northeastern Kansas is a long-term research site at which a critical zone approach has been implemented. Integration of climatic, ecologic, and hydropedologic research to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the complex environment provides the basis for predicting future aquifer and landscape evolution. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Konza Prairie is a reference ecosystem for evaluation of current and former grasslands.
      • Hydrologic change includes climatic and geologic factors such as karstification.
      • Future research is needed to expand vadose zone knowledge.

      Published: October 12, 2017


    • Hans Kupfersberger, Gernot Klammler, Andrea Schumann, Lisa Brückner and Mélanie Kah
      Modeling Subsurface Fate of S -Metolachlor and Metolachlor Ethane Sulfonic Acid in the Westliches Leibnitzer Feld Aquifer

      Pesticides and their metabolites have been increasingly detected in groundwater bodies in southeastern Austria in recent years. The main objective of this study was to model the fate of the herbicide S-metolachlor (2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6-methylphenyl)-N-[(1S)-2-methoxy-1-methylethyl]acetamide; SMET) and the main metabolite metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid (MESA) at the Westliches Leibnitzer Feld (WLF) aquifer. For this purpose, a modeling approach based on coupling the one-dimensional vadose zone model PEARL and the two-dimensional groundwater flow and solute transport model FEFLOW was developed. To calibrate the one-dimensional pesticide fate model, we used leachate concentrations of SMET and MESA from lysimeter experiments. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Lysimeter experiments allow site-specific knowledge about the fate of pesticides.
      • Lysimeter-based model calibration provides integrated parameter sets.
      • Lysimeter scale-based models were compiled to represent aquifer scale.
      • Lysimeter scale-based models were coupled with a groundwater transport model.
      • The groundwater model reproduced observed metabolite groundwater concentrations.

      Published: October 12, 2017

    • Tyson E. Ochsner, Todd W. Schumacher, Rodney T. Venterea, Gary W. Feyereisen and John M. Baker
      Soil Water Dynamics and Nitrate Leaching Under Corn–Soybean Rotation, Continuous Corn, and Kura Clover

      Improving water quantity and quality impacts of corn (Zea mays L.)- and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]-based cropping systems is a key challenge for agriculture in the US Midwest. Long-term field experiments are important for documenting those effects and exploring possible solutions. This study examines differences in soil water dynamics and nitrate-nitrogen (N) leaching among cropping systems and N fertilizer sources in a long-term experiment in southeastern Minnesota. Drainage and leachate concentrations were measured for 4 yr using automated equilibrium tension lysimeters installed below the root zone in replicated, large plots on a well-drained silt loam soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Corn–soybean and continuous corn had similar soil water dynamics and N leaching.
      • Urea and anhydrous ammonia resulted in similar leachate nitrate concentrations.
      • The kura clover cropping system reduced drainage, N leaching, and fall soil N.

      Published: October 5, 2017

    • Clara Torrentó, Volker Prasuhn, Ernst Spiess, Violaine Ponsin, Aileen Melsbach, Christina Lihl, Gaétan Glauser, Thomas B. Hofstetter, Martin Elsner and Daniel Hunkeler
      Adsorbing vs. Nonadsorbing Tracers for Assessing Pesticide Transport in Arable Soils

      The suitability of two different tracers to mimic the behavior of pesticides in agricultural soils and to evidence the potential for preferential flow was evaluated in outdoor lysimeter experiments. The herbicide atrazine [6-chloro-N-ethyl-N′-(1-methylethyl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine] was used as a model compound. Two tracers were used: a nonadsorbing tracer (bromide) and a weakly adsorbing dye tracer (uranine). Two soils that are expected to show a different extent of macropore preferential flow were used: a well-drained sandy-loamy Cambisol (gravel soil) and a poorly drained loamy Cambisol (moraine soil). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Atrazine preferential flow shortly after application was governed by soil type.
      • Injection of atrazine at depth enhanced preferential flow.
      • Uranine realistically illustrated the rapid and significant atrazine breakthrough.
      • In reserve, bromide mimicked early atrazine breakthrough only with moraine soil.
      • Using dye tracers as pesticide surrogates might assist in making sustainable decisions.

      Published: September 14, 2017

    • Mallika A. Nocco, George J. Kraft, Steven P. Loheide II and Christopher J. Kucharik
      Drivers of Potential Recharge from Irrigated Agroecosystems in the Wisconsin Central Sands

      The expansion of irrigated agriculture on landscapes underlain by coarse-grained, glacial aquifers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan changes the timing and magnitude of groundwater recharge. Water managers require improved estimates of groundwater recharge to manage pumping impacts on groundwater-fed streams, lakes, and wetlands. We implemented a network of 25 passive capillary lysimeters to infer potential groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration (ET) from irrigated potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), sweet corn and field corn (Zea mays L.), and pea (Pisum sativum L.)–pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] rotations in the Wisconsin Central Sands (WCS) from June through November of 2013 to 2016. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Groundwater in humid regions should be managed for services, not depletion.
      • Climate variability can be a greater driver of potential recharge than crop type.
      • Soil texture can be a significant driver of point-based potential recharge estimates.
      • Crop phenology may not be predictive of point-based potential recharge estimates.

      Published: September 14, 2017

    • Peter F. Germann and Volker Prasuhn
      Viscous Flow Approach to Rapid Infiltration and Drainage in a Weighing Lysimeter

      Rapid infiltration and drainage in a free-draining weighing lysimeter are assessed with a viscous flow approach that is based on the concept of moving water films. The two parameters film thickness and specific contact area of the film per unit volume of the permeable medium together with the rate and duration of water input suffice to quantify viscous flow at the Darcy scale. The two parameters are deducible from wetting front velocities and water content variations during the passing of the film. Temporarily perching water tables at lysimeter bottoms are considered artifacts of the lysimeter method that may severely alter the biogeochemistry of the effluent. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Preferential flow in a free-draining lysimeter is approached by viscous flow theory.
      • Water perching at the lysimeter bottom is assessed with viscous flow theory.
      • Viscous flow theory is applied to rewetting after exceptional drought.

      Published: June 16, 2017

    • Stewart Wuest
      Surface Effects on Water Storage under Dryland Summer Fallow: A Lysimeter Study

      Small changes in short- and long-term soil water storage can affect crop productivity in semiarid climates. To optimize tillage and residue management on silt loam soils, we compared evaporation from a range of soil surface conditions in a climate with dry summers. Sixty low-cost, low-maintenance lysimeters were constructed from 26-L buckets and installed in-ground for five summers. Three summer fallow soil management options were mimicked by packing soil uniformly to the surface, putting a loose layer of fine soil on top of the packed base, or placing a mixture of clods and fine soil on top of the base. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Inexpensive lysimeters can produce precise, summer-long evaporation comparisons.
      • Surface soil density and tillage depth had small effects on evaporation.
      • Crop residue had a small effect on evaporation over long dry periods.
      • Crop residue had a substantial effect on evaporation following rain.

      Published: May 11, 2017

    • K.R. Brye, A.L.M. Daigh and R.L. McMullen
      Seasonal Effects on Leachate Quality from an Ozark Highlands Managed Grassland Using Automated, Equilibrium-Tension Lysimeters

      In regions with concentrated broiler (Gallus gallus) production, land application is a useful means of managing broiler litter (BL). However, surface and subsurface water quality issues may arise when continued annual BL application to fields occurs for extended periods. The application of manure follows seasonal guidelines for surface water quality protection. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of BL rate (0, 5.6, and 11.2 Mg litter ha−1) and season on drainage and leachate water quality over an 8-yr period (2003–2011) in the Ozark Highlands with karst geology using automated, equilibrium-tension lysimeters. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Lysimeters aid subsurface water quality assessments in long-term nutrient management plots.
      • Broiler litter rates affected few leachate quality parameters during a continuous 8-yr period.
      • Leachate water quality was affected by season during a continuous 8-yr period.

      Published: March 31, 2017

    • Gurbir Singh, Gurpreet Kaur, Karl Williard, Jon Schoonover and Jasjit Kang
      Monitoring of Water and Solute Transport in the Vadose Zone: A Review

      A number of contaminants including agrochemicals (fertilizers, pesticides), heavy metals, trace elements, and pathogenic microbes along with pharmaceuticals and hormones used in animal production move through the soil and are responsible for degradation of groundwater quality. Therefore, it is essential to sample soil solution for better understanding of movement and environmental fate of various contaminants in soils. We review different soil solution extraction samplers. The soil solution samplers discussed here are: drainage lysimeter or soil column, pan lysimeter, resin bags or membranes, wick lysimeters, suction cup, and suction plate. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Soil solution sampling is essential to better understand water and solute movement in soils.
      • A review of different types of soil solution samplers is provided in this paper, including: drainage lysimeter or soil column, pan lysimeter, resin bags or membranes, wick lysimeters, suction cup, and suction plate.
      • Recent developments, modifications, and recommendation criteria are provided for selecting appropriate soil solution extraction samplers.

      Published: February 2, 2017


    • John Koestel
      SoilJ: An ImageJ Plugin for the Semiautomatic Processing of Three-Dimensional X-ray Images of Soils

      Noninvasive three- and four-dimensional X-ray imaging approaches have proved to be valuable analysis tools for vadose zone research. One of the main bottlenecks for applying X-ray imaging to data sets with a large number of soil samples is the relatively large amount of time and expertise needed to extract quantitative data from the respective images. SoilJ is a plugin for the free and open imaging software ImageJ that aims at automating the corresponding processing steps for cylindrical soil columns. It includes modules for automatic column outline recognition, correction of image intensity bias, image segmentation, extraction of particulate organic matter and roots, soil surface topography detection, as well as morphology and percolation analyses. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Three-dimensional X-ray imaging is a valuable tool for vadose zone research.
      • Quantitative 3-D X-ray image analyses require a large amount of time and expertise.
      • SoilJ is an X-ray image processing tool for the automatized analyses of X-ray images.
      • SoilJ lowers the amount of time and expertise needed to evaluate 3-D X-ray images.

      Published: September 28, 2017

    • Sheela Katuwal, Cecilie Hermansen, Maria Knadel, Per Moldrup, Mogens H. Greve and L.W. de Jonge
      Combining X-ray Computed Tomography and Visible Near-Infrared Spectroscopy for Prediction of Soil Structural Properties

      Soil structure is a key soil property affecting a soil’s flow and transport behavior. X-ray computed tomography (CT) is increasingly used to quantify soil structure. However, the availability, cost, time, and skills required for processing are still limiting the number of soils studied. Visible near-infrared (vis-NIR) spectroscopy is a rapid analytical technique used successfully to predict various soil properties. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Vis-NIR can be used for estimation of soil physical and structural properties.
      • Structural parameters are better predicted using vis-NIR than pedotransfer functions.
      • Vis-NIR can be a fast and reliable method for predicting soils’ transport behavior.

      Published: April 20, 2017

    • Sarah Smet, Erwan Plougonven, Angélique Leonard, Aurore Degré and Eléonore Beckers
      X-ray Micro-CT: How Soil Pore Space Description Can Be Altered by Image Processing
      Core Ideas:
      • Thresholding X-ray soil images influences the resulting images.
      • Prior noise reduction improves the thresholding accuracy.
      • Local and global thresholding perform similarly when prior noise reduction is applied.
      • The local threshold interval choice determines the local segmentation quality.

      Published: March 20, 2017


    • Helena Jorda, Adi Perelman, Naftali Lazarovitch and Jan Vanderborght
      Exploring Osmotic Stress and Differences between Soil–Root Interface and Bulk Salinities

      Design of efficient water irrigation strategies with a combination of high-quality water and saline water relies on accurate prediction of root water uptake. Macroscopic models are usually used to predict root water uptake at the field scale. However, they miss proper representation of stress processes at the plant scale. A fully mechanistic three-dimensional model was used to investigate the effect of root length density (RLD), transpiration rate and dynamics, potential leaching fraction (LF), and irrigation frequency and salinity on osmotic stress and gradients developed between the soil–root interface and the bulk soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • High transpiration rates lead to larger osmotic stress.
      • Osmotic stress is highly dependent on root length density.
      • Sinusoidal potential transpiration leads to larger stress than constant transpiration.

      Published: October 12, 2017

    • Peter de Willigen, Marius Heinen and Meine van Noordwijk
      Roots Partially in Contact with Soil: Analytical Solutions and Approximation in Models of Nutrient and Water Uptake

      Root–soil contact entails a trade-off between uptake opportunities and aeration requirements. A single root in the center of a cylinder of soil has been the standard geometry for which most root-level water and nutrient uptake models have been derived. However, this implies assumptions about complete root–soil contact and regularly spaced, parallel roots that do not conform to the situation in the field. In reality, the frequency distribution of transport distances will differ from what the cylinder model assumes, both by partial root–soil contact and irregular three-dimensional (3-D) distribution. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Partial root–soil contact has an impact on uptake.
      • For the radial situation, a steady-rate solution can be used.
      • For partial longitudinal contact, steady-rate solutions cannot always be used.

      Published: October 12, 2017

    • Anne Hartmann, Jiří Šimůnek, Moses Kwame Aidoo, Sabine J. Seidel and Naftali Lazarovitch
      Implementation and Application of a Root Growth Module in HYDRUS

      A root growth module was adapted and implemented into the HYDRUS software packages to model root growth as a function of different environmental stresses. The model assumes that various environmental factors, as well as soil hydraulic properties, can influence root development under suboptimal conditions. The implementation of growth and stress functions in the HYDRUS software opens the opportunity to derive parameters of these functions from laboratory or field experimental data using inverse modeling. One of the most important environmental factors influencing root growth is soil temperature. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • A HYDRUS module was implemented to model root growth as a function of environmental stresses.
      • Simulations were compared with experimental data for temperature stress effects on root growth.
      • Temperature-dependent root growth parameters were fitted to experimental data using DREAM.
      • A sensitivity analysis of model parameters revealed key parameters of the modeling approach.

      Published: September 7, 2017

    • P. Benard, M. Zarebanadkouki, C. Hedwig, M. Holz, M.A. Ahmed and A. Carminati
      Pore-Scale Distribution of Mucilage Affecting Water Repellency in the Rhizosphere

      The physical properties of the rhizosphere are strongly influenced by root-exuded mucilage, and there is increasing evidence that mucilage affects the wettability of soils on drying. We introduce a conceptual model of mucilage deposition during soil drying and its impact on soil wettability. We hypothesized that as soil dries, water menisci recede and draw mucilage toward the contact region between particles. At low mucilage contents (milligrams per gram of soil), mucilage deposits have the shape of thin filaments that are bypassed by infiltrating water. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • During drying, mucilage is preferentially deposited in small pores.
      • This microscopic heterogeneity critically affects macroscopic wettability.
      • Infiltration is impeded when a critical fraction of pores is blocked by dry mucilage.
      • Dry mucilage bridges are shaped like hollow cylinders connecting particles.

      Published: September 7, 2017

    • Gaochao Cai, Jan Vanderborght, Valentin Couvreur, Cho Miltin Mboh and Harry Vereecken
      Parameterization of Root Water Uptake Models Considering Dynamic Root Distributions and Water Uptake Compensation

      The spatiotemporal distribution of root water uptake (RWU) depends on the dynamics of the root distribution and compensatory uptake from wetter regions in the root zone. This work aimed to parameterize three RWU models with different representations of compensation: the Feddes–Jarvis model that uses an empirical function, the Feddes model without compensation, and the Couvreur model that is based on a physical description of water flow in the soil–root system. These models were implemented in HYDRUS-1D, and soil hydraulic parameters were optimized by inverse modeling using soil water content and potential measurements and observations of root distributions of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in horizontally installed rhizotubes. Soil moisture was equally well predicted by the three models, and the soil hydraulic parameters optimized by the models with compensation were comparable. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Parameters of different RWU models were optimized using data from a rhizotron facility.
      • The same soil hydraulic properties were obtained for models considering RWU compensation.
      • Feddes–Jarvis and Couvreur models predicted similar root-system-scale stress functions.
      • The obtained RWU parameters were consistent with data reported in the literature.
      • The models with compensation predicted similar total uptake but different local RWU.

      Published: July 20, 2017

    • Moses Kwame Aidoo, Tal Sherman, Jhonathan E. Ephrath, Aaron Fait, Shimon Rachmilevitch and Naftali Lazarovitch
      Grafting as a Method to Increase the Tolerance Response of Bell Pepper to Extreme Temperatures

      Fluctuations of winter and summer and day and night temperatures strongly influence shoot and root growth, as well as the whole plant tolerance to extreme soil temperatures. We compared the response of a commercial pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) hybrid (Romance, Rijk Zwaan) to a range of soil temperatures when grafted to a new rootstock hybrid (S101, Syngenta), self-grafted, or ungrafted. The new rootstock hybrid was bred for enhancing abiotic stress tolerance. Plants were grown during winter and summer seasons in a plastic greenhouse with natural ventilation. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Shoot and root interactions under extreme temperatures contributed to tolerance.
      • Impact of root dynamics on soil pore water EC and Cl uptake increased under extreme temperatures.
      • Tolerance of extreme temperatures increased assimilation and allocation of C and N to organ growth.

      Published: June 27, 2017

    • Arbel Berezniak, Alon Ben-Gal, Yael Mishael and Uri Nachshon
      Manipulation of Soil Texture to Remove Salts from a Drip-Irrigated Root Zone

      Drip irrigation is a useful method for the application of low-quality water because it does not wet the foliage and limits the spread of contaminants. Nevertheless, when using water containing high levels of dissolved salts, drip irrigation may be insufficient for leaching and can lead to soil salinization. A new conceptual model was tested experimentally and numerically to examine if manipulation of the distribution of soils with different textures could promote the removal of salts from the root zone and increase leaching efficiency. The manipulated root zone consisted of a volume of coarse soil, located under a drip irrigation emitter, surrounded by finer texture soil. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Root zone soil texture manipulation improved leaching efficacy for drip irrigation.
      • Manipulation consists of coarse medium, with roots within, surrounded by fine medium.
      • Capillary barrier between coarse and fine media prevents salt return to roots.
      • Study results may contribute to the practice of irrigation with salty water

      Published: June 16, 2017

    • Félicien Meunier, Youri Rothfuss, Thierry Bariac, Philippe Biron, Patricia Richard, Jean-Louis Durand, Valentin Couvreur, Jan Vanderborght and Mathieu Javaux
      Measuring and Modeling Hydraulic Lift of Lolium multiflorum Using Stable Water Isotopes

      This study tested a method to quantify and locate hydraulic lift (HL, defined as the passive upward water flow from wetter to dryer soil zones through the plant root system) by combining an experiment using the stable water isotope 1H2 18O as a tracer with a soil–plant water flow model. Our methodology consisted in (i) establishing the initial conditions for HL in a large rhizobox planted with Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.), (ii) labeling water in the deepest soil layer with an 18O-enriched solution, (iii) monitoring the water O isotopic composition in soil layers to find out changes in the upper layers that would reflect redistribution of 18O-enriched water from the bottom layers by the roots, and (iv) comparing the observed soil water O isotopic composition to simulation results of a three-dimensional model of water flow and isotope transport in the soil–root system. O (continued)

      Published: May 18, 2017

    • Everton Alves Rodrigues Pinheiro, Quirijn de Jong van Lier and Klaas Metselaar
      A Matric Flux Potential Approach to Assess Plant Water Availability in Two Climate Zones in Brazil

      Predicting soil water availability to plants is important for agricultural and ecological models. Models that explicitly take into account root water uptake and transpiration reduction describe the ability of soil to supply water to plants based on soil hydraulic properties that depend on soil water content. The objective of this study was to further develop an existing single-layer root water uptake model based on matric flux potential to allow for multi-layer scenarios; and to illustrate its functionality using soil hydraulic properties from layered soils from two climate zones in Brazil: a semiarid zone and a humid zone. For each soil layer, the hydraulic properties were determined by inverse modeling of laboratory evaporation experiment data available for pressure heads between −165 and −1.5 m. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • A multi-layer root water uptake model is developed based on matric flux potential.
      • Soil hydraulic properties from two important ecological zones in Brazil are assessed.
      • Water supplying capacity to plants is higher in semiarid than in humid zone soils.
      • Reduction of root suction below −150 m does virtually not affect water availability.

      Published: April 20, 2017

    • Mutez A. Ahmed, Mohsen Zarebanadkouki, Katayoun Ahmadi, Eva Kroener, Stanley Kostka, Anders Kaestner and Andrea Carminati
      Engineering Rhizosphere Hydraulics: Pathways to Improve Plant Adaptation to Drought

      Recent studies have drawn attention to the role of mucilage in shaping rhizosphere hydraulic properties and regulating root water uptake. During drying, mucilage keeps the rhizosphere wet and conductive, but on drying it turns hydrophobic, limiting root water uptake. In this study, we introduce the concept of rhizoligands, defined as additives that (i) rewet the rhizosphere and (ii) reduce mucilage swelling, thereby reducing the rhizosphere conductivity. We tested whether selected surfactants behaved as rhizoligands. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Mucilage exudation by roots modifies the hydraulic properties of the rhizosphere.
      • Rhizoligands are surfactants that rewet the rhizosphere and reduce mucilage swelling.
      • A reduction in mucilage swelling reduces rhizosphere hydraulic conductivity.
      • By managing rhizosphere hydraulic properties, we can improve plants’ adaptation to drought.

      Published: March 20, 2017

  • Facebook   Twitter