Soil water dynamics in drained and undrained meadows

Vopravil J., Formánek P., Janků J., Khel T. (2021): Soil water dynamics in drained and undrained meadows. Soil & Water Res., 16: 256267.

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Tile drainage belongs to one of the most important meliorative measures in the Czech Republic. It has been hypothesised that it may improve some soil properties which are influenced by the groundwater and their water regime. In the case of meadows, the used management method may also influence the soil properties. In this study, different physical soil properties (particle and bulk density, total soil porosity, maximum capillary water capacity, minimum air capacity, water retention capacity and saturated water content, volumetric water content and matric potential) at depths of 15, 35 or 40 and 60 cm in differently managed meadows (drained versus undrained) located near the village of Železná in the Czech Republic (mildly cold, humid climatic region) were investigated. The drained meadow is used mainly for grazing (extensively) and the undrained meadow is mown twice a year. In addition, the actual evapotranspiration was estimated for the 2018 vegetation season. The selected physical soil properties were significantly (P < 0.05) different between the experimental meadows, especially at depths of 0–28 versus 0–35 cm (particle and bulk density, total soil porosity, maximum capillary water capacity, water retention capacity and saturated water content) and 28–49 versus 35–45 cm (particle density, water retention capacity and saturated water content). In the case of all the studied soil depths, the volumetric water content and matric potential were significantly (P < 0.05) different between the experimental meadows in the years 2016–2019. The actual evapotranspiration was also significantly different (P < 0.05) between the meadows. The obtained differences in the measured soil properties and estimated actual evapotranspiration were probably influenced by the used tile drainage and also by the type of management of the meadow. It is necessary to obtain more research findings with respect to different types of management in the case of drained meadows and also undrained meadows to understand the role of both treatments (tile drainage, management).

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