Snow management in the reclamation of sodic soils

TitleSnow management in the reclamation of sodic soils
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1992
AuthorsSteppuhn, H., and Curtin D.
Conference Name60th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 60th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1992
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationJackson Hole, Wyoming
KeywordsCalcium ammendments, Sodic soils, Sodicity, Soil reclamation

Sodic soils contain an excess of exchangeable sodium relative to other captions. This imbalance together with other conductive conditions cause soil aggregates to separate into smaller particles, alter the soil structure, restrict infiltration, and reduce permeability. Reclamation of sodic soils often includes the application of calcium amendments to displace and free the sodium for subsequent leaching. When irrigation water is unavailable, the rate of the reclamation depends on natural precipitation. Snow management to increase water quantities for these Ca-amended soils might facilitate and accelerate reclamation.A trial in Saskatchewan using plastic snow fencing erected on small plots demonstrated that snow management practiced on highly sodic soil amended with Ca can improve water intake. Snow fenced plots accumulated water equivalents seven-fold greater (76 to 11 mm) than comparable unfenced plots. Upon melting, this snow cover enhancement supplied 41% more water and to deeper within the soil profile to 60 cm.