Current issue: 56(4)
The matrix potential, measured with tensiometers, and its effect on the soil air-water ratio were examined during the production of bare-rooted Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings in nursery fields. Soil water potential was monitored during the growing season of 1983 at three nurseries in Finland, and from fields growing various seedling types at depths of 10 and 20 cm. In 1986, soil core samples were collected in order to assess the water desorption characteristics of the soil. In addition, the effect of polypropylene gauze covering (Agryl P 17) on the soil water potential was examined during the growing season of 1985 at two nurseries in Finland at depths of 5, 10 and 15 cm.
The soil water potential was relatively high in all the fields studied. In fields growing one- and two-year-old seedlings, the median potential was higher than -10 kPa. The potential did not fall below the limit of the measured scale (ca. -85 kPa) of the tensiometers. Soil aeriation may have been periodically insufficient in the rooting zone, as a result of high water content. The favourable water potential is below -5 to – 6 kPa. The gauze covering slightly (1–4 kPa) increased the soil water potential, an effect which could be harmful if the soil air space is low. During the second growing season, the soil water potential was lower in the fields covered by the gauze during the first year than in the fields without the covering.
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