Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 87–96 | Cite as

A comparison of soil carbon dynamics in residential yards with and without trees

  • Ann HuylerEmail author
  • Arthur H. Chappelka
  • Zhaofei Fan
  • Stephen A. Prior


Residential lawns provide chronosequences to examine influences of home age and aboveground tree biomass (ATB) on soil carbon (C) levels. Soil C dynamics were compared between 44 lawns with trees (LwT) and 23 without trees (PL). At the 0–15 cm depth, LwT had higher mean soil C than PL and an earlier rise in median soil C across home age. Nonparametric quantile regression also showed a steeper rise in the 5th, 50th, and 95th soil C quantiles for LwT. Fitted polynomial regression models indicated that home age and ATB together accounted for 40 % of the soil C variation at the 0–15 cm depth [C = 1.34 + 0.05(Age) + 0.0003(ATB)]. At the 15–30 cm depth, the interaction between home age and ATB explained 33 % of the soil C variation [C = 0.78 + 0.0003(Age*ATB)]; at 30–50 cm, ATB was responsible for 20 % [C = 0.56 + 0.0003(ATB)].


Lawns Aboveground tree biomass Belowground tree biomass, soil carbon 



We much appreciate all the technical and/or field assistance from William Avery, Jonathon Bartlett, Kyle Bolton, Nick Gilliland, Robin Governo, Dr. B. Graeme Lockaby, Nick Martin, Matthew McCollough, and Efrem Robbins. Barry G. Dorman and Dr. Juan B. Rodriguez with the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, Auburn, AL provided excellent technical assistance and all the carbon and nitrogen analyses and for that we are forever grateful. Also, we give a huge “Thank You” to the 2 anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful editorial comments that improved this paper. Partial financial support provided by the Mcintire-Stennis Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.National Soil Dynamics LaboratoryUSDA-ARSAuburnUSA

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