Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (5): 740-753    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0106-6
Orginal Article     
Effects of biochar on water movement characteristics in sandy soil under drip irrigation
Shenghai PU1,2,3, Guangyong LI1,*(), Guangmu TANG2,3, Yunshu ZHANG2,3, Wanli XU2, Pan LI2,3, Guangping FENG2,3, Feng DING2
1College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, China Agriculture University, Beijing 100083, China
2Institute of Soil Fertilizer and Agricultural Water Saving,Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Urumqi 830091, China
3Key Laboratory of Northwest Oasis Agricultural Environment,Ministry of Agriculture of China,Urumqi 830091,China
Download: HTML     PDF(869KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Biochar addition can improve the physical and hydraulic characteristics of sandy soil. This study investigated the effects of biochar on water holding capacity and water movement in sandy soil under drip irrigation. By indoor simulation experiments, the effects of biochar application at five levels (0%, 1%, 2%, 4%and 6%) on the soil water retention curve, infiltration characteristics of drip irrigation and water distribution were tested and analyzed. The results showed thatbiochar addition rate was positively correlated with water holding capacity of sandy soil and soil available water. Within the same infiltration time, with an increasing amount of added biochar, the diffusion distance of the horizontal wetting front (HWF) tended to decrease, but the infiltration distance of vertical wetting front (VWF) initially declined and then rose. The features of wetted bodies changed from "broad-shallow" to "narrow-deep" type. The relationship between the transport distance of HWF and VWF and the infiltration time was described by a power function. At the same distance from the point source, the larger was the amount of added biochar, the higher was the soil water content. Biochar had a great influence on the water content of the layer with biochar (0-200mm) and had some effects at 200-250mm without biochar; but had less influence on the soil water content deeper than 250mm. For the application rate of biochar of 4%, most water was retained within 0-250mm soil layer. However, when biochar application amount was high (6%), it would be helpful for water infiltration. During the improvement of sandy soil, biochar application rate of 4% in the plow layer had the best effect.

Key wordsbiochar      sandy soil      water holding capacity      water movement      drip irrigation     
Received: 08 October 2018      Published: 10 October 2019
Corresponding Authors:
About author:

The first and second authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Shenghai PU, Guangyong LI, Guangmu TANG, Yunshu ZHANG, Wanli XU, Pan LI, Guangping FENG, Feng DING. Effects of biochar on water movement characteristics in sandy soil under drip irrigation. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(5): 740-753.

URL:     OR

[1] Ahmed F, Arthur E, Plauborg F, et al.2018. Biochar amendment of fluvio-glacial temperate sandy subsoil: Effects on maize water uptake, growth and physiology. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, 204(2): 123-136.
[2] Al-Wabel M I, Hussain Q, Usman A R A, et al.2018. Impact of biochar properties on soil conditions and agricultural sustainability: A review. Land Degradation & Development, 29(7): 2124-2161.
[3] Antal M J, Gronli M.2003. The art, science, and technology of charcoal production. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 42(8): 1619-1640.
[4] Barnes R T, Gallagher M E, Masiello C A, et al.2014. Biochar-Induced changes in soil hydraulic conductivity and dissolved nutrient fluxes constrained by laboratory experiments. PLoS ONE, 9(9): e108340, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108340.
[5] Baronti S, Vaccari F P, Miglietta F, et al.2014. Impact of biochar application on plant water relations in Vitis vinifera (L.). European Journal of Agronomy, 53: 38-44.
[6] Blanco-Canqui H.2017. Biochar and soil physical properties. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 81(4): 687-711.
[7] Bruun E W, Petersen C T, Hansen E, et al.2014. Biochar amendment to coarse sandy subsoil improves root growth and increases water retention. Soil Use and Management, 30(1): 109-118.
[8] Devereux R C, Sturrock C J, Mooney S J.2012. The effects of biochar on soil physical properties and winter wheat growth. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 103(1): 13-18.
[9] Dong X H, Yao Z X, Peng T, et al.2016.Effects of temperature on domparative study of the water characteristiccurve of soil and quartz sand. Research of Soil and Water Conservation, 23(6): 64-68. (in Chinese)
[10] Dugan E, Verhoef A, Robinson S, et al.2010. Bio-char from sawdust, maize stover and charcoal: impact on water holding capacities (WHC) of three soils from Ghana. Proceedings of the 19th World Congress of Soil Science: Soil solutions for a changing world, Brisbane, Australia, 1-6 August 2010. Symposium 4.2.2 Soil and water-global change: 9-12.
[11] Faloye O T, Alatise M O, Ajayi A E, et al.2017. Synergistic effects of biochar and inorganic fertiliser on maize (zea mays) yield in an alfisol under drip irrigation. Soil and Tillage Research, 174: 214-220.
[12] Githinji L.2014. Effect of biochar application rate on soil physical and hydraulic properties of a sandy loam. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, 60(4): 457-470.
[13] Glab T, Palmowska J, Zaleski T, et al.2016. Effect of biochar application on soil hydrological properties and physical quality of sandy soil. Geoderma, 281: 11-20.
[14] Han Q B, Feng S Y, Cao L L, et al.2015. Thinking about further development of drip irrigation technology and equipment. Journal of Drainage and Irrigation Machinery Engineering, 33(11): 1001-1005. (in Chinese)
[15] Hansen V, Hauggaard-Nielsen H, Petersen C T, et al.2016. Effects of gasification biochar on plant-available water capacity and plant growth in two contrasting soil types. Soil and Tillage Research, 161: 1-9.
[16] Hardie M, Clothier B, Bound S, et al.2014. Does biochar influence soil physical properties and soil water availability? Plant and Soil, 376(1-2): 347-361.
[17] Ibrahim H M, Al-Wabel M I, Usman A R A, et al.2013. Effect of conocarpus biochar application on the hydraulic properties of a sandy loam soil. Soil Science, 178(4): 165-173.
[18] Jacka L, Trakal L, Ourednicek P, et al.2018. Biochar presence in soil significantly decreased saturated hydraulic conductivity due to swelling. Soil and Tillage Research, 184: 181-185.
[19] Kangoma E, Blango M M, Rashid-Noah A B, et al.2017. Potential of biochar-amended soil to enhance crop productivity under deficit irrigation. Irrigation and Drainage, 66(4): 600-614.
[20] Karhu K, Mattila T, Bergstrom I, et al.2011. Biochar addition to agricultural soil increased CH4 uptake and water holding capacity—Results from a short-term pilot field study. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 140(1-2): 309-313.
[21] Li S L, Wang X, Wang S, et al.2016. Effects of application patterns and amount of biochar on water infiltration and evaporation. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 32(14): 135-144. (in Chinese)
[22] Liu C, Wang H, Tang X, et al., 2016. Biochar increased water holding capacity but accelerated organic carbon leaching from a sloping farmland soil in China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(2): 995-1006
[23] Liu X Y, Bian R J, Lu H F, et al.2018. Biochar for sustainable soil management: Biomass technology and industry from soil perspectives. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 33(2): 184-190. (in Chinese)
[24] Liu Z, Dugan B, Masiello C A, et al.2016. Impacts of biochar concentration and particle size on hydraulic conductivity and DOC leaching of biochar-sand mixtures. Journal of Hydrology, 533: 461-472.
[25] Lu R K.2000. Analytical Methods for Soil Agricultural Chemistry(3rded.). Beijing: China Agricultural Science and Technology Press. 30-33, 56-57, 80-81 and 106-107. (in Chinese)
[26] Poormansour S, Razzaghi F.2018. Effect of biochar and irrigation levels on faba bean productivity. Acta Horticulturae, 1190: 157-162, doi: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1190.27.
[27] Qi R P, Zhang L, Yan Y H, et al.2015. Effects of biochar addition into soils in semiarid land on water infiltration under the condition of the same bulk density. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 31(16): 128-134. (in Chinese)
[28] She D, Sun X, Gamareldawla A H D, et al.2018. Benefits of soil biochar amendments to tomato growth under saline water irrigation. Scientific Reports, 8: 14743, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-33040-7.
[29] Suliman W, Harsh J B, Abu-Lail N I, et al.2017. The role of biochar porosity and surface functionality in augmenting hydrologic properties of a sandy soil. Science of the Total Environment, 574: 139-147.
[30] Wang D, Li G, Mo Y, et al.2017. Effect of planting date on accumulated temperature and maize growth under mulched drip irrigation in a middle-latitude area with frequent chilling injury. Sustainability, 9(9): 1500, doi: 10.3390/su9091500.
[31] Wang D D, Zheng J Y, Yan Y H, et al.2013. Effect of biochar application on soil water holding capacity in the southern region of Ningxia. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 27(2): 101-109. (in Chinese)
[32] Wang R Y, Wei Y X, Liu H, et al.2018. Influences of biochar on hydrodynamic parameters of meadow black soil. Transactions of the Chinese Society for Agricultural Machinery, 49(7): 186-194. (in Chinese)
[33] Xiao Q, Zhang H P, Shen Y F, et al.2015. Effects of biochar on water infiltration, evaporation and nitrate leaching in semi-arid loess area. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 31(16): 128-134. (in Chinese)
[34] Xiao Y, Yang S, Xu J, et al.2018. Effect of biochar amendment on methane emissions from paddy Field under water-saving irrigation. Sustainability, 10(5): 1-13.
[35] Xing X G, Zhao W G, Ma X Y, et al.2015. Study on soil shrinkage characteristics during soil water characteristic curve measurement. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 46(10): 1181-1188. (in Chinese)
[36] Xu J, Niu W Q, Li Y, et al.2015. Effects of biochar addition on soil water movement under moistube-irrigation. Water Saving Irrigation, 12: 64-68. (in Chinese)
[1] ZOU Yiping, ZHANG Shuyue, SHI Ziyue, ZHOU Huixin, ZHENG Haowei, HU Jiahui, MEI Jing, BAI Lu, JIA Jianli. Effects of mixed-based biochar on water infiltration and evaporation in aeolian sand soil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(4): 374-389.
[2] HUANG Laiming, ZHAO Wen, SHAO Ming'an. Response of plant physiological parameters to soil water availability during prolonged drought is affected by soil texture[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 688-698.
[3] CHEN Yan, XU Yongping, QU Fangjing, HOU Fuqin, CHEN Hongli, LI Xiaoyu. Effects of different loading rates and types of biochar on passivations of Cu and Zn via swine manure composting[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(6): 1056-1070.
[4] WU Yan, LI Fei, ZHENG Haichun, HONG Mei, HU Yuncai, ZHAO Bayinnamula, DE Haishan. Effects of three types of soil amendments on yield and soil nitrogen balance of maize-wheat rotation system in the Hetao Irrigation Area, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(6): 904-915.
[5] Jun ZHANG, Peng DONG, Haoyu ZHANG, Chaoran MENG, Xinjiang ZHANG, Jianwei HOU, Changzhou WEI. Low soil temperature reducing the yield of drip irrigated rice in arid area by influencing anther development and pollination[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(3): 419-430.
[6] Huimin YANG, Xueyong ZOU, Jing'ai WANG, Peijun SHI. An experimental study on the influences of water erosion on wind erosion in arid and semi-arid regions[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(2): 208-216.
[7] Tong HENG, Renkuan LIAO, Zhenhua WANG, Wenyong WU, Wenhao LI, Jinzhu ZHANG. Effects of combined drip irrigation and sub-surface pipe drainage on water and salt transport of saline-alkali soil in Xinjiang, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(6): 932-945.
[8] Juan HU, Jinggui WU, Xiaojing QU. Decomposition characteristics of organic materials and their effects on labile and recalcitrant organic carbon fractions in a semi-arid soil under plastic mulch and drip irrigation[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 115-128.
[9] Tongtong WANG, E STEWART Catherine, Jiangbo MA, Jiyong ZHENG, Xingchang ZHANG. Applicability of five models to simulate water infiltration into soil with added biochar[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(5): 701-711.
[10] Huimin YANG, Yuan GAO, Degen LIN, Xueyong ZOU, Jing’ai WANG, Peijun SHI. An experimental study on the influences of wind erosion on water erosion[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(4): 580-590.
[11] Shufang GUO, Yuchun QI, Qin PENG, Yunshe DONG, Yunlong HE, Zhongqing YAN, Liqin WANG. Influences of drip and flood irrigation on soil carbon dioxide emission and soil carbon sequestration of maize cropland in the North China Plain[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(2): 222-233.
[12] WenXuan MAI, ChangYan TIAN, Li LI. Localized salt accumulation: the main reason for cotton root length decrease during advanced growth stages under drip irrigation with mulch film in a saline soil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(3): 361-370.
[13] Sulitan DANIERHAN, Abudu SHALAMU, Hudan TUMAERBAI, DongHai GUAN. Effects of emitter discharge rates on soil salinity distribution and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yield under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in an arid region of Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2013, 5(1): 51-59.
[14] ChangZhou WEI, TengFei MA, XiaoJuan WANG, Juan WANG. The fate of fertilizer N applied to cotton in relation to irrigation methods and N dosage in arid area[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(3): 320-329.
[15] HongShou LI, WanFu WANG, GuoBin ZHANG, ZhengMo ZHANG, XiaoWei WANG. GSPAC water movement in extremely dry area[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2011, 3(2): 141-149.