SSC LAB REPORT 1-CH

SSC LAB REPORT 1-CH - Laboratory#6 Soil and Water...

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Laboratory #6: Soil and Water Relationships SSC 200 Soil Moisture Relationships in a Topsoil, a Subsoil, and a Sandy Floodplain Sediment Introduction Plant growth is crucial to life on earth and is critically linked to soil moisture. There are  three categories of soil moisture: gravitational, available, and unavailable, in relation to plant  growth. Gravitational moisture is the difference in moisture content at soil saturation (when a soil  is fully saturated with water) and soil field capacity (the amount of water held after excess water  has drained away) and is usually not available for plant use because it rapidly drains from the  soil. Moisture that is available for plant use is usually held in micropores and is found between  the soil’s field capacity and permanent wilting point (the point at which soil moisture is so low  that plants cannot again become turgid). Water in this state is held so that it does not quickly  drain away by cohesion, but not so tightly that plants cannot use it. The third category of soil  moisture, unavailable moisture, is held in very small micropores or on the surface of soil  particles and is held so tightly by adhesion that plants cannot absorb and use it. When a soil is  at the permanent wilting point and is oven dried, unavailable moisture is finally released. Soil  properties like texture and structure greatly affect the amount of soil moisture in each of the  three categories since they determine the size distribution of soil pores.  It was the intent of this experiment to contrast a topsoil, a subsoil, and a sandy floodplain  sediment in relation to soil moisture availability, pore size distribution, and bulk density.  Materials and Methods Four 50-g samples of a topsoil, a subsoil, and a sandy floodplain sediment were placed  in plastic cups. Cups were labeled with treatment designations: saturated, field capacity, wilting 
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