Plant-available soil water capacity: estimation methods and implications

Capacidade de água disponível no solo para as plantas: métodos de estimativa e implicações

Bruno Montoani Silva Érika Andressa da Silva Geraldo César de Oliveira Mozart Martins Ferreira Milson Evaldo Serafim About the authors

The plant-available water capacity of the soil is defined as the water content between field capacity and wilting point, and has wide practical application in planning the land use. In a representative profile of the Cerrado Oxisol, methods for estimating the wilting point were studied and compared, using a WP4-T psychrometer and Richards chamber for undisturbed and disturbed samples. In addition, the field capacity was estimated by the water content at 6, 10, 33 kPa and by the inflection point of the water retention curve, calculated by the van Genuchten and cubic polynomial models. We found that the field capacity moisture determined at the inflection point was higher than by the other methods, and that even at the inflection point the estimates differed, according to the model used. By the WP4-T psychrometer, the water content was significantly lower found the estimate of the permanent wilting point. We concluded that the estimation of the available water holding capacity is markedly influenced by the estimation methods, which has to be taken into consideration because of the practical importance of this parameter.

field capacity; permanent wilting point; soil water retention curve modeling; Oxisol; land use planning

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