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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Use of FGD Gypsum to Improve Crop and Forage Production on Erodible Soils of the South

Location: National Soil Dynamics Laboratory

Title: A method for installing zero-tension pan and wick lysimeters in soil

Authors
item Way, Thomas
item Lamba, Jasmeet -
item Srivastava, Puneet -

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 9, 2011
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Citation: Way, T.R., Lamba, J., Srivastava, P. 2011. A method for installing zero-tension pan and wick lysimeters in soil. Transactions of the ASABE. 27(5):747-755.

Interpretive Summary: Nutrients from manure or fertilizer may infiltrate, with water, down into the soil profile. Subsurface movement of water within the soil may then transport these nutrients away from the soil to which they were applied. Such nutrient movement may adversely affect the quality of subsurface or surface water at places separate from where the manure or fertilizer was applied. Zero-tension pan lysimeters and passive capillary fiberglass wick lysimeters are devices that are installed beneath the soil surface and collect water flowing from the soil above them. They are useful in determining water quality and volumetric aspects of subsurface water flow. Equipment and a procedure were developed for installing these lysimeters in soil. This equipment and procedure are expected to be useful in determining the volume of water flowing down out of soil above the lysimeters and in determining nutrient concentrations in the water. Results are expected to be useful in assessing movement of nutrients from applied manure or fertilizer, in groundwater.

Technical Abstract: Zero-tension pan lysimeters and passive capillary fiberglass wick lysimeters are useful in determining water quality and volumetric aspects of subsurface water flow. Installation of pan and wick lysimeters beneath undisturbed soil may be complicated by the tendency for the soil to cave-in as the lysimeter tunnel in the soil is being excavated and after the lysimeter is installed in the tunnel. Equipment and a method were developed for installing zero-tension pan lysimeters and wick lysimeters in field plots. The dimensions of the upper horizontal surface of the pan lysimeters that were used were 280 mm x 430 mm, and those of the wick lysimeters were 300 mm x 300 mm, but the equipment can be modified to accommodate other lysimeter dimensions. The main equipment components are steel boxes which are pushed horizontally from a pit, into soil beneath the field plot, and a guiding frame that pushes the boxes using a hydraulic cylinder powered by a tractor hydraulic system. The equipment and method were used in the sandy loam soil of tall fescue (Fescue arundinacea Schreb.) pasture plots. The lysimeters were installed at a depth of 500 mm beneath the soil surface.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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