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Increase and Spatial Variation in Soil Infiltration Rates Associated with Fibrous and Tap Tree Roots

1
State Key Laboratory of Hydraulic Engineering Simulation and Safety, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
2
School of Civil Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
3
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1700; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081700 (registering DOI)
Received: 15 July 2019 / Revised: 12 August 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Groundwater and Surface Water Monitoring and Management)
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Abstract

Trees play important roles in urban stormwater management; through the loosening of soils by root growth, they increase infiltration and reduce runoff, helping to mitigate flooding and recharge groundwater. Malus baccata with fibrous roots and Sophora japonica with tap roots were studied experimentally to assess their enhancement of soil infiltration. A blank test without a tree was conducted for comparison. Steady-state soil infiltration rates at the bottom of test tanks were measured as 0.28 m/d, 0.33 m/d, and 0.61 m/d for the blank test, M. baccata, and S. japonica, respectively. This represents a 19% increase in the infiltration rate by planting M. baccata and a 118% increase by planting S. japonica. A larger increase in the infiltration rate by S. japonica is consistent with the effects of deeper and more vertical roots that help loosen deeper soils. Spatial variations in soil infiltration rates were also measured. Infiltration rates for M. baccata (1.06 m/d and 0.62 m/d) were larger than those for S. japonica (0.91 m/d and 0.51 m/d) at the same depths (0.35 m and 0.70 m); this is consistent with the expected effects of the shallower and more lateral roots of M. baccata. This study furthers our understanding of the roles of trees in watersheds and urban environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: fibrous roots; tap roots; infiltration; soil permeability; variation; groundwater fibrous roots; tap roots; infiltration; soil permeability; variation; groundwater
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Zhang, D.; Wang, Z.; Guo, Q.; Lian, J.; Chen, L. Increase and Spatial Variation in Soil Infiltration Rates Associated with Fibrous and Tap Tree Roots. Water 2019, 11, 1700.

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