Effect of Organic and Chemical Conditioners on Aggregate Stability, Least Limiting Water Range and Integral Water Capacity under Wheat Cultivation in Saline Soils

Document Type : Research Article


1 Soil Science Dept., Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

2 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

3 Soil Science Dept., Industrial university of Isfahan

4 Soil Science Dept., Urmia University


Soil salinity has a negative effect on physical, chemical and biological properties of soil. Salinity also affects the relationships between soil and plants, which in turn has a significant effect on plant growth. One of the solutions used to reduce the effects of salinity and improve the physical properties of the soil is application of organic and chemical conditioners. Organic matter as well as calcium improve the structure and physical condition of the soil. Conditioners in saline soils include soluble calcium salts such as gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), calcium chloride (CaCl2.2H2O) and phosphogypsum (phosphorous gypsum), and acids such as sulfuric acid, sulfur, pyrite, Aluminum sulfate and sulfur lime (calcium polysulfide). Strategies aimed at evaluating and ameliorating the structural quality of soils should be developed to ensure the sustainable use of lands. The least limiting water range (LLWR) attempts to incorporate crop-limiting values of soil strength, aeration, and water supply to plant roots into one effective parameter (on the basis of soil water content). The LLWR can be a useful indicator of soil quality and soil physical constraints on crop production. Therefore, the objective of this research was to study the effects of organic and inorganic conditioners on some structural and hydraulic indices of saline sodic soils.
Material and Methods
In this study, the effect of two types of organic and chemical conditioners and the simultaneous application of them on modifying the physical properties of 5 saline soils around the lake of Urmia were investigated. Treatments included algae, salfit and algae+salfit. The soil samples were transferred to culture boxes (40 × 40 × 40) according to the bulk density of the sampling site. The soil samples were wetted and dried several times. Conditioners treatments including application of calcium and organic compounds. After reaching the field capacity, wheat seeds were sown and irrigated with water (electrical conductivity 0.28 dS/m and pH= 7.78). It should be noted that irrigation was done at intervals of 8 days. Two months after the beginning the experiment, irrigation was stopped and soil moisture was allowed to reach a permanent wilting point. At this stage, undisturbed soil samples were prepared from the treated soil of each box and the mean weight‐diameter of dry (MWDdry) and wet (MWDwet) aggregates were measured. Then the values of least limiting water range in two suctions of 330 and 100 cm and water integral capacity of samples were measured.
Results and Discussion
According to the initial analysis, all soils used were saline and the amount of calcium carbonate was high in two soils (number 3 and 5). Soil organic carbon content was also low. The results of salfit analysis also showed that the dissolved calcium and sulfur content were 8 and 3.9%, respectively. The results showed that soil 1 had the highest amount of MWDwet and soil 5 had the lowest amount of MWDwet. The highest and lowest aggregate stability values were obtained in soils 3 and 5, respectively, where soil 5 was very saline soil. The studied soils differed in terms of soil water relations. The highest amount of LLWR330 was found in soil 5, while the lowest amount of LLWR100 and IWC parameters was also obtained in same soil. The results of this study showed that salfit treatment caused the highest increase in aggregate stability (74.9%) LLWR330 (14.5%) and integral water capacity (26.2%) compared to the control and the highest mean weight‐diameter of aggregates in both wet and dry conditions was obtained in salfit-algae treatment (52.4% and 40.4% increase, respectively). The results of correlation analysis among the measured parameters showed that the highest correlation was found between aggregate stability and MWDwet. Among the measured parameters, aggregate stability had the highest correlation with other parameters and the correlation of this parameter with LLWR330, LLWR100, IWC and MWDwet were 0.36, 55, 75 and 88 %, respectively. Soil water integral capacity also had a significant correlation (p < 0.01) with LLWR330 (0.84) and MWDwet (0.7).
The effect of initial soil properties on studied parameters was significant and the use of conditioners improved studied parameters, and use of conditioners increased indices structural and hydraulic of saline soils. In general, the results of this study showed the positive effect of conditioners on physical properties of the studied soils, in which salfit and salfit-algae have a better effect on studied parameter, and they could be useful to improve soil physical condition. It seems that the application of different rates of conditioners as well as their interaction with each other should be considered according to the basic properties of the soil.


Main Subjects

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Volume 36, Issue 1 - Serial Number 81
March and April 2022
Pages 113-126
  • Receive Date: 22 January 2022
  • Revise Date: 07 February 2022
  • Accept Date: 14 March 2022
  • First Publish Date: 19 March 2022