Hydrogel amendment to sandy soil reduces irrigation frequency and improves the biomass of Agrostis stolonifera

DOI: 10.4236/as.2011.24071   PDF   HTML     6,767 Downloads   12,588 Views   Citations


Soil water potential indicates the water status of the soil and the need for irrigation. The effect of hydrogel amendment to the upper sand soil layer on water infiltration into the lower un-amended sand layer, irrigation frequency, water use efficiency and biomass production of Agrostis stolonifera was investigated. The upper 25 cm sand layer in three identical buckets was amended at 0.4%, 0.2% and a control (no hydrogel) while the lower 25 cm sand layer separated from the upper layer by a wire mesh in the same buckets was un-amended. Agrostis stolonifera seeds were sown in each bucket and adequately irrigated using a hand sprayer. Potential meter electrodes were inserted at three random positions in each of the buckets and subsequent irrigations were done when a pressure of 600 bars was recorded in any of the three treatments. Data were collected on irrigation frequency, water content in the lower layer, water use efficiency and biomass production of Agrostis stolonifera. The mean water potential in the lower 25 cm layer un-amended sand was significantly more negative in the 0.4% hydrogel than in the control. More water content (10%) was recorded in the lower layer under the control bucket than in either the 0.2% and 0.4% hydrogel amended buckets. The frequency of irrigation was three-fold in the control compared to the 0.4% hydrogel amended sand. The hydrogel amended sand significantly increased the shoot and root biomass of Agrostis stolonifera by 2.2 and 4 times respectively compared to the control. The 0.4% hydrogel amendment in sand increased the water use efficiency of grass eight fold with respect to the control. The hydrogel stimulated development of a dense root network and root aggregation that increased contact of the roots with moisture thus improving water use efficiency of hydrogel amended soil. The results suggest that hydrogels can improve sandy soil properties for plant growth by absorbing and keeping water longer in the soil matrix thus reducing watering frequency.

Share and Cite:

Agaba, H. , Orikiriza, L. , Obua, J. , Kabasa, J. , Worbes, M. and Hüttermann, A. (2011) Hydrogel amendment to sandy soil reduces irrigation frequency and improves the biomass of Agrostis stolonifera. Agricultural Sciences, 2, 544-550. doi: 10.4236/as.2011.24071.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abd El-Rahim, H.A. (2006) Characterisiation and possible agricultural application of polyacrylamide/sodium alginate crosslinked hydrogels prepared by ionizing radiation. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 101, 3572-3580. doi:10.1002/app.22487
[2] Huttermann, A., Orikiriza, L.J.B. and Agaba, H. (2009) Application of superabsorbent polymers for improving the ecological chemistry of degraded or polluted lands. Clean—Soil, Air, Water, 37, 517-526. doi:10.1002/clen.200900048
[3] Dorajji, S.S., Golchin A. and Ahmadi, S. (2010) The effects of hydrophilic polymer and soil salinity on corn growth in sandy and loamy soils. Clean—Soil, Air, Water, 38, 584-591.
[4] Kramer, P.J. and Boyer, J.S. (1995) Water relations of plants and soils. Academic Press, London.
[5] Bhardwaj, A.K., Shainberg, I., Goldstein, D., Warrington, D.N. and Levy, G.J. (2007) Water retention and hydraulic conductivity of cross-linked polyacrylamides in sandy soils. Soil Science Society of America, 71, 406-412. doi:10.2136/sssaj2006.0138
[6] Huttermann A., Zommorodi, M. and Reise, K. (1999) Addition of hydrogels to soil for prolonging the survival of pinus halepensis seedlings subjected to drought. Soil & Tillage Research, 50, 295-304. doi:10.1016/S0167-1987(99)00023-9
[7] Helalia, A.M. and Letey, J. (1989) Effects of different polymers on seedling emergence, aggregate stability and crust hardness. Soil Science, 148, 199-203. doi:10.1097/00010694-198909000-00007
[8] Teyel, M.Y. and El-Hady, O.A. (1981) Super gel as a soil conditioner. Acta Horticulture, 119, 247-256.
[9] Jobin P., Caron J., Bernier, P.Y. and Dansereau B. (2004) Impact of twohydrophilic acrylic-based polymers on the physical properties of three substrates and the growth of Petunia hybrida “Brilliant Pink”. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 129, 449-457.
[10] Agaba, H., Orikiriza, L.J.B., Esegu, J.F.O., Obua, J., Kabasa, J.D, and Huttermann, A. (2010) Effects of hydrogel amendment to different soils on plant available water and survival of trees under drought conditions. Clean—Soil, Air, Water, 38, 328-335. doi:10.1002/clen.200900245
[11] Fiscus, E.L., Wullschleger, S.D. and Duke, H.R. (1984) Integrated Stomatal opening as indicator of water stress in zea mays. Crop Science, 24, 245-249. doi:10.2135/cropsci1984.0011183X002400020009x
[12] Fiscus, E.L., Mahbub-Ul Alam, A.N.M. and Hirasawa, T. (1991) Fractional integrated stomatal opening to control water stress in the field. Crop Science, 31, 1001-1008. doi:10.2135/cropsci1991.0011183X003100040032x
[13] Taylor, K.C. and Halfacre, R.G. (1986) The effect of hydrophilic polymer on media water retention and nutrient availability to Ligustrum lucidum. Horticultural Science, 21, 1159-1161.
[14] Bai, W., Zhang, H., Liu, B., Wu, Y. and Song, J. (2010) Effects of super-absorbent polymers on the physical and chemical properties of soil following different wetting and drying cycles. Soil Use and Management, 26, 253- 260. doi:10.1111/j.1475-2743.2010.00271.x
[15] Wallace, J.S. (1991) The measurement and modelling of evaporation from semiarid land. In: Sivakumar, M.V.K., Wallace, J.S., Renard, C. and Giroux, C., Eds., Soil water balance in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone. Proceedings of Niamey Workshop, IAHS Publication No. 199, 131-148
[16] Wallace, J.S. (1996) The water balance of mixed tree-crop systems. In: Ong, C.K. and Huxley, P., Eds., Tree-Crop Interactions: A Physiological Approach, CAB International, Wallingford.
[17] Huttermann, A., Reise, K., Zommorodi, M. and Wang, S. (1997) The use of hydogels for afforestation of difficult stands: Water and salt stress, in semi-arid regions In: H. Zhou and H. Weisgerber, Eds., Afforestation in Semi-Arid Regions, Datong.
[18] Graciano, C., Guiamet, J.J. and Goya, J.F. (2005) Impact of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on drought responses in Eucalyptus grandis seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management, 212, 40-49. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2005.02.057
[19] Woodhouse, J. and Johnson, M.S. (1991) Effect of superabsorbent polymers on survival and growth of crop seedlings. Agricultural Water Management, 20, 63-70. doi:10.1016/0378-3774(91)90035-H
[20] Ciais, P.H., Reichstein, M., Viovy, N., Granier, A., Allard, V., et al. (2005) Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. Nature, 437, 529-533. doi:10.1038/nature03972
[21] Gomez-Cadenas, A., Tadeo, F.R., Talon, M. and Primo-Millo, E. (1996) Leaf abscission induced by ethylene in water stressed intact seedling of Citrus reshni Hort exTan requires previous abscisic acid accumulation in roots. Plant Physiology, 112, 401-408.
[22] Sinclair, T.R. and Allen, L.H.Jr. (1982) Carbon dioxide and water vapour exchange of leaves on field-grown citrus trees. Journal of Experimental Botany, 33, 1166- 1175. doi:10.1093/jxb/33.6.1166
[23] Syvertsen, J.P., Lloyd, J. and Kriedemann, P.E. (1988) Salinity and drought stress effects on ion concentration, water relations and photosynthetic characteristics of orchard citrus. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 39, 619-627. doi:10.1071/AR9880619
[24] Arbona, V., Iglesias, D.J., Jacas, J., Primo-Millo, E. and Talon, M. (2005) Hydrogel substrate amendment alleviates drought effects on young citrus plants. Plant Soil, 270, 73-82. doi:10.1007/s11104-004-1160-0
[25] Perez-Perez, J.G., Syvertsen, J.P., Botia, P. and Garcia-Sanchez, F. (2007) Leaf water relations and net gas exchange responses of salinized Carrizo citrange seedlings during drought stress and recovery. Annals of Botany, 100, 335-345. doi:10.1093/aob/mcm113
[26] Garcia-Sanchez, F., Syvertsen, J.P., Gimeno, V., Botia, P. and Perez-Perez, J.G. (2007) Responses to flooding and drought stress by two citrus rootstocks seedlings with different water-use efficiency. Physiology and Plantarum, 130, 532-542. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3054.2007.00925.x
[27] Busscher, W.J., Bjorneberg, D.L. and Sojka, R.E. (2009) Field application of PAM as an amendment in deep-tilled US southeastern coastal plain soils. Soil & Tillage Research, 104, 215-220. doi:10.1016/j.still.2009.02.009
[28] Goebel, M.O., Bachmann, J., Woche, S.K. and Fischer, W.R. (2005) Soil wettability, aggregate stability, and the decomposition of soil organic matter. Geoderma, 128, 80-93. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2004.12.016
[29] John, B., Yamashita, T., Ludwig, B. and Flessa, H. (2005) Storage of organic carbon in aggregate and density fractions of silty soils under different types of land use. Geoderma, 128, 63-79. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2004.12.013
[30] Dehgan, B., Yeager T.H. and Almira, F.C. (1994) Podocarpus growth response to a hydrophilic polymer- amended medium. Horticultural Science, 29, 641-644.
[31] Flannery, R.L. and Busscher, W.J. (1982) Use of a synthetic polymer in potting soil to improve water holding capacity. Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 13, 103-111. doi:10.1080/00103628209367249
[32] Sharma, J. (2004) Establishment of perennials in hydrophilic polymer amended soil. SNA Research Conference, 42, 30-532.
[33] Orikiriza, J.L.B., Agaba, H., Tweheyo, M., Eilu G., Kabasa, J.D. and Hutterman, A. (2009) Amending soils with hydrogels increases the biomass of nine tree species under non-water stress conditions. Clean—Soil, Air, Water, 37, 615-620. doi:10.1002/clen.200900128
[34] Hamilton, J.L. and Lowe, R.H. (1982) Use of a water absorbent polymer in tobacco seedling production and transplanting. Tobacco Science, 26, 17-20.
[35] Ma, H.C., and Nelles-Schwelm, E. (2004) Application of hydrogels for vegetation recovery in dry—Hot Valley of Yangtze. Yunnan Academy of Sciences, Yunnan.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.