Biochar and compost amendment impacts on soil water and pore size distribution of a loamy sand soil

Ibrahim, Alaa
Horton, Robert
Horton, Robert
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Soil structure which refers to aggregates and pore characteristics, reflects the spatial arrangement of soil particles and is a key component for crop yield and soil health. Well‐formed soil structure has favorable pore size distribution, which supports soil water flow and retention and healthy plant growth. Compost and biochar, important organic amendments, have a potential to influence soil structure, but their effects on specific soil types and soil properties have not been fully investigated. The main objective of this study was to investigate the impact of the additions of compost and/or date palm biochar on selected soil water indicators and pore size distribution of a loamy sand soil using disturbed soil samples. Statistical parameters of pore size distribution properties such as, standard deviation (SD), kurtosis and skewness, modal diameter (dmode), median diameter (dmedian), and mean diameter (dmean) as well as plant available water capacity (PAWC), available soil water capacity (ASWC), saturated soil water content (θvs) and measured saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) were measured and evaluated. The results showed that the dmode, dmedian, dmean, SD, skewness and kurtosis values for untreated soil (control) were 31.6 μm, 25.8 μm, 23.5 μm, 3.3, ‐0.16 and 1.14, respectively. Biochar, compost and a mixture of biochar‐compost additions to a loamy sand soil significantly reduced dmode, dmedian and dmean values in comparison with non‐amended soil. Application of these amendments increased PAWC and ASWC and reduced Ksat of the loamy sand soil, significantly. Biochar‐compost mixture has the most significant effect on improving soil water retention and PAWC.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ibrahim, Alaa, and Robert Horton. "Biochar and compost amendment impacts on soil water and pore size distribution of a loamy sand soil." Soil Science Society of America Journal (2021), which has been published in final form at doi:10.1002/saj2.20242. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.