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Does biochar influence soil physical properties and soil water availability?


Hardie, M and Clothier, B and Bound, S and Oliver, G and Close, D, Does biochar influence soil physical properties and soil water availability?, Plant and Soil, 376, (1-2) pp. 347-361. ISSN 0032-079X (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11104-013-1980-x


Aims: This study aims to (i) determine the effects of incorporating 47 Mg ha−1 acacia green waste biochar on soil physical properties and water relations, and (ii) to explore the different mechanisms by which biochar influences soil porosity.

Methods: The pore size distribution of the biochar was determined by scanning electron microscope and mercury porosimetry. Soil physical properties and water relations were determined by in situ tension infiltrometers, desorption and evaporative flux on intact cores, pressure chamber analysis at −1,500 kPa, and wet aggregate sieving.

Results: Thirty months after incorporation, biochar application had no significant effect on soil moisture content, drainable porosity between 1.0 and −10 kPa, field capacity, plant available water capacity, the van Genuchten soil water retention parameters, aggregate stability, nor the permanent wilting point. However, the biochar-amended soil had significantly higher nearsaturated hydraulic conductivity, soil water content at −0.1 kPa, and significantly lower bulk density than the unamended control. Differences were attributed to the formation of large macropores (>1,200 μm) resulting from greater earthworm burrowing in the biocharamended soil.

Conclusion: We found no evidence to suggest application of biochar influenced soil porosity by either direct pore contribution, creation of accommodation pores, or improved aggregate stability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:plant available soil water (PAWC), in situ, soil amendment, apple, soil water retention
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Horticultural crop growth and development
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Horticultural crops
Objective Field:Pome fruit, pip fruit
UTAS Author:Hardie, M (Mr Marcus Hardie)
UTAS Author:Bound, S (Dr Sally Bound)
UTAS Author:Oliver, G (Mr Garth Oliver)
UTAS Author:Close, D (Professor Dugald Close)
ID Code:89186
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:296
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2014-02-26
Last Modified:2017-11-02
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