Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

The relationships of texture and hydrophysical properties in soil profiles under selected exotic trees in the context of climate change in Central Europe.

Abstract

Suitable soil and environmental conditions are the main prerequisites for successful growth of plants. Generally, all soil properties are substantially affected by textural composition. Therefore, the objective of the study was to test the interrelationships between particle size distribution and such physical soil properties, which usually predetermine the survival/death of plants, since they significantly affect the content and availability of water and air. Textural composition and physical soil properties were studied in profiles under monocultures of selected exotic trees in Arboretum Mlyňany, Slovakia. The results showed that medium-textured dominated in topsoils, whereas heavy-textured classes were dominant in luvic and stagnic horizons. Evaluation of entire profiles had confirmed standard, expected relationships between the individual grain fractions and soil physical properties. However, differences have occurred when the correlations between texture and physical properties in individual horizons were evaluated. Considering entire soil profiles, increased sand content significantly supported drainage of rainwater and soil aeration; silt contributed to increase the total porosity and aeration as well as available water capacity; clay contributed to the decrease in the available water capacity, total, and particularly coarse porosity and aeration, and to rise water retention, as well as the values of the wilting point. The results showed silt as key fraction providing suitable hydrophysical properties for the survival and growth of trees introduced in Arboretum. In compacted luvic and stagnic horizons, silt was significantly involved in the formation of total, and particularly coarse porosity and thereby increase soil aeration, while conversely, in loose topsoils just silt fraction significantly contributed to the reduction of coarse pores and increase of fine capillary pores and therefore water retention. In loose eluvial horizons, the silt contributed to significant increases in capillary porosity and water availability, which is essential in terms of meeting the plant needs.