Characteristics and Taxonomy of Sodic Soils as a Function of Landform Position
- B. D. Seelig,
- J. L. Richardson * and
- W. T. Barker
Sodic soils in central North Dakota are related to landform position in relation to the water table and plant communities. Classification problems are commonly encountered when field observations are compared with established taxa. This study focused on relating soil and plant characteristics to differences in soil water regime. Soils at three landform positions, designated as upland, intermediate, and wetland, were sampled at regular intervals. The sampling pattern at each position formed a grid (49 pedons/grid). Each pedon was described and classified. Selected pedons were analyzed for major cations, electrical conductivity (EC), and dispersible clay. Water-table observations were made from wells with perforated casings at each area sampled. Plant composition was determined by the point-frame and quadrat methods. Landform position and plant communities reflected variations in sodic soil properties and soil water regime. The highest amounts of dispersible clay and lowest Ca/Mg ratios were in the sodic soils at the two lowest positions. The highest sodium adsorption ratios (SAR) were in soils at the intermediate position. These soils were associated with a plant community dominated by inland saltgrass [Distichlis spicata ssp. stricta (Torrey) Thorne] in the intermediate position. Sodic soils from the upland position were drier than the sodic soils at the two lower positions and were not so severely affected by Na.
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