03 Mar 2023
 | 03 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

The higher relative concentration of K+ to Na+ in saline water improves soil hydraulic conductivity, salt leaching efficiency and structural stability

Sihui Yan, Binbin Zhang, Tonggang Zhang, Yu Cheng, Chun Wang, Min Luo, Hao Feng, Tibin Zhang, and Kadambot H. M. Siddique

Abstract. Soil salinity and sodicity caused by saline water irrigation are widely observed globally. Clay dispersion and swelling are influenced by sodium (Na+) concentration and electrical conductivity (EC) of soil solution. Specifically, soil potassium (K+) also significantly affects soil structural stability, but which concern was rarely addressed in previous studies or irrigation practices. A soil column experiment was carried out to examine the effects of saline water with different relative concentrations of K+ to Na+, including K+/Na+ of 0:1 (K0Na1), 1:1 (K1Na1), 1:0 (K1Na0) at a constant EC (4 dS m-1), and deionized water as the control (CK), on soil physicochemical properties. The results indicated that at the constant EC of 4 dS m-1, the infiltration rate and water content were significantly (P < 0.05) affected by K+/Na+ values, K0Na1, K1Na1 and K1Na0 significantly (P < 0.05) reduced saturated hydraulic conductivity by 43.62 %, 29.04 % and 18.06 % respectively compared with CK. The volumetric water content was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in K0Na1 than CK at both 15 and 30 cm soil depths. K1Na1 and K1Na0 significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the desalination time and required leaching volume. K0Na1 and K1Na1 reached the desalination standard after the fifth and second infiltration, respectively, as K1Na0 did not exceed the bulk electrical conductivity required for desalination prerequisite throughout the whole infiltration cycle at 15 cm soil layer. Furthermore, due to the transformation of macropores into micropores spurred by clay dispersion, soil total porosity in K0Na1 dramatically decreased compared with CK, and K1Na0 even increased the proportion of soil macropores. The higher relative concentration of K+ to Na+ in applied water was more conducive to soil aggregate stability, alleviating the risk of macropores reduction caused by sodicity.

Sihui Yan et al.

Status: open (until 20 Apr 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1390', Manfred Sager, 18 Mar 2023 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Sihui Yan, 22 Mar 2023 reply
    • RC2: 'Reply on RC1', Manfred Sager, 22 Mar 2023 reply

Sihui Yan et al.

Sihui Yan et al.


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Short summary
The paper provides some new information about the effects of different relative concentrations of K+ to Na+ at constant EC on soil hydraulic conductivity, salt leaching efficiency and pore size distribution. In addition to Ca2+ and Mg2+ which are primarily concerned about in previous studies, K+ plays an important role in soil structure stability. These findings can provide a scientific basis and technical support for the sustainable use of saline water and control of soil quality deterioration.