The University of Arizona

Matric potential of clay loam soils on arid rangelands in southern New Mexico.

C.H. Herbel, R.P. Gibbens

Abstract


The matric potential of soil water is presented for 6 clay loam sites on floodplains of arid rangelands. Gypsum resistance blocks impregnated with plaster of paris were placed at 6 soil depths to 122 cm. At 4 locations, blocks were placed inside and outside a buried sheet metal cylinder so that estimates could be obtained of matric potential due to precipitation and due to precipitation plus run-in. The average annual precipitation during the approximate 20-year study period was 242 mm, slightly above the long-time average. Haplargids dominated by tobosa [Hilaria mutica (Buckl.)Benth.] had a greater probability of the matric potential greater than or equal to -1.5 MPa (wet soil) than the Calciorthids dominated by burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolius Phil.). The probability of matric potential greater than or equal to -1.5 MPa (wet soil) was as great or greater in winter as during the summer growing season. The factors affecting matric potential were amount and nature of precipitation, amount of run-in water, soil and vegetation type, position on the landscape, and microrelief.

Keywords


matric potential;clay loam soils;New Mexico

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