EFFECT OF VETIVER ROOTS ON SOIL RESISTANCE TO PENETRATION IN A TYPIC FLUVIC NEOSSOL IN THE SÃO FRANCISCO RIVERBANK

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of the root of vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides (L.) Robert) on the soil Resistance to penetration (RP) in the margins of the lower São Francisco River. Vetiver grass seedlings were planted on the riverbank margins in order to increase soil resistance to erosion processes, and RP assessments were made at soil depths of 0-0.20, 0.20-0.40, and 0.40-0.60 m in different situations (near the plants and within rows). RP data was obtained using an automated penetrometer. Gravimetric moisture data was also collected, as well as particle size data by densimetry, and root density data by the monolith method. The results of the RP, moisture, and root density studies were subjected to analysis of variance (p <0.05) and then the averages were compared by the Tukey test using SISVAR software. The samples next to the vetiver grass showed an average RP of 1793.94 kPa and an average moisture content of 11.78%, statistically differing from that of the sampled points within rows. RP and soil moisture did not differ statistically at the depth assessed. The vetiver grass produced an adequate ground cover, leading to higher water retention and hence a reduced resistance to penetration.