The effect of tractor wheeling on the soil properties and root growth of smooth brome

https://doi.org/10.17221/804/2013-PSECitation:Krebstein K., von Janowsky K., Kuht J., Reintam E. (2014): The effect of tractor wheeling on the soil properties and root growth of smooth brome. Plant Soil Environ., 60: 74-79.
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The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of tractor wheeling with a light tractor on the root growth and soil properties of smooth brome in South Estonia. Field experiment was conducted on sandy loam Haplic Luvisol in 2007. Data were collected during September 2008 in both an uncompacted and compacted area. Because of the compaction, the precompression stress increased in the upper soil layer (0−10 cm) by 12.6% and 15.2% at a depth of 10−20 cm. Compaction had only a minor effect on the bulk density, values increased 4.7% in the upper soil layer and 1.8% in the deeper layer. Differences in the saturated hydraulic conductivity (ks) were not significant; however, the decrease in the ks was 26.6% in the upper level and 12.5% in the deeper (10−20 cm) layer. At a depth of 0 to 30 cm compaction decreased the root length by 44.7% and the root mass by 60.5% compared with the uncompacted soil. Altogether, this study confirms the unfavourable effect of wheeling on grasslands even when the wheeling is performed with a light tractor on dry soil.
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