Influence of compost amendment rate and level of compaction on the hydraulic functioning of soils
Kranz, C. N., McLaughlin, R. A., Amoozegar, A., & Heitman, J. L. (2023, March 16). JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION.
Abstract There has been widespread interest in using compost to improve the hydrologic functions of degraded soils at construction sites for reducing runoff and increasing infiltration. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of compost amendment rate on saturated hydraulic conductivity ( K s ) and water retention in order to identify target compost rates for enhancing soil hydrologic functions. Samples were prepared with three soil textures (sandy loam, silt loam, and sandy clay loam), amended with compost at 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50%. All soils were tested at a porosity of 0.5 m 3 /m 3 , and the sandy loam was further tested at high (0.55 m 3 /m 3 ) and low (0.4 m 3 /m 3 ) porosities. The K s and water retention data were then used to model infiltration with HYDRUS‐1D. With increasing compost amendment rate, K s and water retention of the mixtures generally increased at the medium porosity level, with more compost needed in heavier soils. As porosity decreased in the sandy loam soil, the amount of compost needed to improve K s rose from 20% to 50%. Water distribution in pore fractions (gravitational, plant‐available, and unavailable water) depended on texture, with only the highest compost rates increasing plant‐available water in one soil. Results suggest soil texture should be taken into consideration when choosing a compost rate in order to achieve soil improvement goals. Hydrologic benefits may be limited even at a high rate of compost amendment if soil is compacted.