Soil solutions were collected monthly by tension and zero-tension lysimeters in a low-elevation red spruce stand in east-central Maine from May 1987 through December 1992. Soil solutions collected by Oa tension lysimeters had higher concentrations of most constituents than the Oa zero-tension lysimeters. In Oa horizon soil solutions growing season concentrations for SO4, Ca, and Mg averaged 57, 43, and 30 μmol L−1 in tension lysimeters, and 43, 28, and 19 μmol L−1 in zero-tension lysimeters, respectively. Because tension lysimeters remove water held by the soil at tensions up to 10 kPa, solutions are assumed to have more time to react with the soil compared to freely draining solutions collected by zero-tension lysimeters. Solutions collected in the Bs horizon by both types of collectors were similar which was attributed to the frequency of time periods when the water table was above the Bs lysimeters. Concentrations of SO4 and NO3 at this site were lower than concentrations reported for most other eastern U.S. spruce-fir sites, but base cation concentrations fell in the same range. Aluminum concentrations in this study were also lower than reported for other sites in the eastern U.S. and Ca/Al ratios did not suggest inhibition of Ca uptake by roots. Concentrations of SO4, Ca, K, and Cl decreased significantly in both the Oa and Bs horizons over the 56-month sampling period, which could reflect decreasing deposition rates for sulfur and base cations, climatic influences, or natural variation. A longer record of measured fluxes will be needed to adequately define temporal trends in solution chemistry and their causes.
Additional publication details
Soil-solution chemistry in a low-elevation spruce-fir ecosystem, Howland, Maine