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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(8)


    • 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


    • 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


    • Marcus Herbrich and Horst H. Gerke
      Scales of Water Retention Dynamics Observed in Eroded Luvisols from an Arable Postglacial Soil Landscape

      Soil water retention is frequently described by unique main drying curves measured in the laboratory on intact soil cores. In the field, however, soil pore structure changes as a result of swelling and shrinkage, wetting and drying, or tillage operations. For erosion-affected arable soils characterized by truncated profiles, water retention dynamics could be even more complex. The objective of this study was to separate shorter term hysteretic from longer term seasonal dynamics in field-measured water retention data of eroded Luvisols. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Hysteretic, seasonal, and interannual soil water retention dynamics were identified.
      • Hydraulic functions for each drying and wetting event were described separately.
      • Shorter term dynamics indicated soil structural and wettability changes.
      • Longer term dynamics reflected soil management and erosion history.
      • For each timescale, different processes control water retention dynamics.

      Published: August 10, 2017

    • Fábio Joel Kochem Mallmann, Danilo Rheinheimer dos Santos, Marcos Antonio Bender, Elci Gubiani, Milton da Veiga, Jean Paolo Gomes Minella, Folkert van Oort and Jirka Šimůnek
      Modeling Zinc and Copper Movement in an Oxisol under Long-Term Pig Slurry Amendments

      Increases in Zn and Cu concentrations in soils amended with pig slurry (PS) can be described using numerical models. Our main objective was to validate that the HYDRUS-1D model is able to numerically describe profile concentrations and long-term vertical transport of Zn and Cu in a clay soil (Oxisol) cultivated under annual cropping in a no-till system and contaminated by successive doses of PS amendments. We first used a modeling approach that had previously been validated for an Alfisol. Then, we additionally also evaluated the effects of root growth and root water uptake on the transport of trace metals (TMs). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Eleven years of Zn and Cu movement in an Oxisol amended with pig slurry (PS) was modeled.
      • Root growth and water uptake effects were successfully added in HYDRUS simulations.
      • Concentration profiles of Zn were described better than those of Cu.
      • DOC-facilitated Cu transport needs to be considered when modeling Cu transport in soils.
      • Zn concentrations will not be a problem during the next 50 yr in PS-amended soils.

      Published: August 10, 2017

    • J. Eichert, B. McAlexander, M. Lyverse, P. Michalski and N. Sihota
      Spatial and Temporal Variation in Natural Source Zone Depletion Rates at a Former Oil Refinery

      Understanding the implications of vadose zone processes across spatial and temporal scales is challenging. At petroleum release sites, biodegradation of hydrocarbon compounds contributes to biogeochemical cycling through natural source zone depletion (NSZD). Considerable gaps remain in characterization at large sites. An evaluation of NSZD rates at a >80-ha decommissioned oil refinery was conducted using a dynamic closed chamber (DCC). (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • Natural source zone depletion rate spatial variability aligns with historical release areas.
      • The sitewide average NSZD rate is adequately characterized with radiocarbon correction.
      • NSZD rate temporal variability correlates with air temperature and precipitation.
      • Dynamic closed chambers, concentration gradient method, and CO2 traps show discrepancies.
      • Discrepancies in methods are related to parameter sensitivity, measurement time frame, and radiocarbon sampling.

      Published: August 10, 2017

    • Edoardo Martini, Ute Wollschläger, Andreas Musolff, Ulrike Werban and Steffen Zacharias
      Principal Component Analysis of the Spatiotemporal Pattern of Soil Moisture and Apparent Electrical Conductivity

      Characterizing the spatial and temporal patterns of soil properties and states such as soil moisture (θ) remains an important challenge in environmental monitoring. At the Schäfertal hillslope site, the spatial patterns of θ measured by a distributed monitoring network and those of apparent electrical conductivity (ECa) measured by electromagnetic induction were characterized based on an integrated monitoring approach, and their possible controlling factors were investigated. With this study, we aimed to quantify the factors controlling the observed spatial patterns of θ and ECa and their interrelation. A principal component analysis was used to identify patterns within a data set comprising θ measured on seven dates within one hydrological year at 40 locations (three depths each) and ECa extracted from spatial maps for the same positions and dates. (continued)

      Core Ideas:
      • PCA identified patterns within collocated time-lapse measurements of θ and ECa.
      • The factors controlling the observed spatial patterns of θ and ECa were quantified.
      • Results demonstrate the nonstationary control of the spatial pattern of θ and ECa.

      Published: May 11, 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

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