Effects of freeze-thaw cycles on soil structure under different tillage and plant cover management practicesMiranda-Velez, Jorge F.; Leuther, Frederic; Koehne, John Maximilian; Munkholm, Lars J.; Vogeler, Iris;
Soil structure plays a central role in many soil processes that are environmentally relevant. Intermittent freezing of the soil over winter is an important abiotic disturbance in temperate climates and its effects on soil structure depend on the soil's preexistent structural strength and cohesion. Management choices such as tillage and plant cover after harvest strongly influence soil structure, and therefore the soil's response to freeze-thaw. We examined the effects of 5 freeze-thaw cycles (FT) on the mu CT-detectable structure of intact topsoil cores (o=100 mm, h=80 mm) from a long-term rotation and tillage experiment in Denmark. The cores were divided among two tillage treatments and two plant cover treatments, corresponding to a gradient of structural strength: CTB1020 mu m) and analyzed the macroporosity (Vt), mean macropore diameter (dm) and mean Euclidian distance to the nearest macropore (EDm). Additionally, we analyzed the effects of tillage and plant cover on several mu CTderived geometric parameters in Full Range. Overall, NT-B and NT-V resulted in lower macroporosity than in CTB and CT-V. Similarly, we found fewer, less branched macropores with shorter mean branch length in NT compared to CT for both plant cover treatments. However, we propose that mu CT-derived geometric parameters might be confounded by the overlapping influence of relatively few, complex and voluminous coarse macropores and the more abundant, less complex very fine macropores. Freeze-thaw, in turn, caused crumbling of soil around coarse macropores, reducing Vt and dm in Full Range and reducing Vt in the > 1020 mu m range. Additionally, FT caused significant increases in Vt and reductions in dm and EDm in the < 300 mu m range, indicating creation of new very fine macropores and expansion of previously indiscernible macropores. Overall, the effects of FT were reduced in NT (for equal plant cover treatments) and V (for equal tillage treatments), indicating greater resilience against FT in both cases.
X-ray microtomography; ?CT; No -till; Conventional tillage; Soil structure; Macropores
Published inSoil and Tillage Research 2023, volume: 225, article number: 105540
UKÄ Subject classification
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
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