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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Yard Waste Compost to Enhance Soil Water Holding Capacity in the Urban-Rural Interface

item Malone, Robert
item Meade, Terry
item Folden, Melissa - USDA-ARS-NSTL STEP STUDNT

Submitted to: Association of American Geographers
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2003
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Yard waste compost (YWC) is a perceived waste product but may be beneficial as a soil amendment to improve soil quality, reduce plant stress under dry conditions, and increase water holding capacity of the soil root zone. Therefore, we quantified the water retention of topsoil-only and YWC-amended topsoil. Treatment differences were investigated using 30-inch deep (75 cm) x 12-inch diameter (30 cm) packed soil columns where the top 15 cm was incorporated with 0, 1, 2, or 3 inches of YWC. Water retention was determined by saturating the soil, drying the soil with heat lamps, and then applying 6.0 cm of water to the column surface. Preliminary results suggest that the YWC amended soil retained 1.8 cm more water than the control after saturation and 24-h of gravity drainage. The water retention benefit of YWC-amended soil converts to 9.0 million liters of water conserved per 10 ha area per 5 storms.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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