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Plant and Soil

, Volume 239, Issue 1, pp 9–17 | Cite as

A highly conductive drainage extension to control the lower boundary condition of lysimeters

  • Alon Ben-Gal
  • Uri Shani
Article

Abstract

Lysimeters are used to study and monitor water, fertilizers, salts and other contaminants and are particularly valuable in transpiration and evapotranspiration research. Saturation at the soil bottom boundary in a lysimeter is inherent to its design. A drainage extension made of porous media with high hydraulic conductivity and substantial water holding capacity was devised to extend the lysimeter in order to produce soil moisture conditions mimicking those in the field. Design criteria that assure equal discharge in the soil and in the highly conductive drain (HCD) were established and formulated. Desired matric head at the lysimeter base is determined by HCD extension length. Its value can be manipulated and can range between saturation and the soil's field capacity. Conditions where the HCD is not limiting to flow are obtained through selection of the appropriate cross sectional area ratio between the soil in the lysimeter and the HCD. The validity of these criteria was confirmed with 200 l working lysimeters in the field, with and without plants, and with detailed flow tests utilizing smaller (15 l) lysimeters. Comparison of computed and measured matric head and leachate volume indicates that the proposed method can serve to maintain conditions similar to those in the field.

drain evapotranspiration lysimeter rockwool water balance 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alon Ben-Gal
    • 1
  • Uri Shani
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; and Arava Research and Development, `Arava' Experimental Station, Mobile Post EliotThe Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental SciencesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

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