Water retention curve to analyze soil structure changes due to liming

Abstract: Liming can influence crop growth by altering pore geometry, pore size distribution and water retention characteristics in acid soils. The aim of this work is to determine liming effects on the soil structure based on analysis of water retention data using a cubic spline adjustment function. For that, the authors investigated the effect of three lime rates (0, 15 and 20 t ha-1) on soil water retention characteristics and pore size distribution of a silty-clay “Cambissolo Háplico Alumínico” (Dystrudept) located in the SE region of the Paraná State, Brazil. Soil cores were collected after 31 months of the experiment at 0-10 cm and 10-20 cm soil layers. Eleven matric potentials (from 0 to -7000 cm H2O) were employed to calculate soil water retention and pore size distribution curves. The pore size distribution curves revealed trimodal soil porosity with three distinct peaks. Equivalent pore diameters ranging from 9.18 µm to 13.18 µm separated structural and matrix domains. Small differences exist in the pore size distribution curves due to liming and between layers for all peaks. With no-till plus surface liming, the volume of large pores diminished at the two layers and the volume of small pores increased at the surface layer.