Measurement of fertilizer leaching from the root zone using an automated infiltration soil water sampler in an unsaturated sandy field

Naoko Higashi, Yasushi Mori, Mitsuhiro Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In sandy fields with vegetable cultivation, fertilizer leaching may occur and it should be well-controlled. The development of a direct soil water sampler is necessary to examine solute transport and fertilizer leaching in the vadose zone, since soil water reflects timely monitoring of data more accurately than groundwater. We developed a Suction-Controlled Flux Sampler to collect infiltration soil water in a sandy soil. In the present study, we monitored fertilizer leaching in an unsaturated sandy field during the rainy season, while evaluating the sampling performance of SCFS for the sampling of infiltration water. SCFS directly collected the infiltration water effectively over a period of several months in the sandy field and recorded the Water-Collecting Efficiency from 92 to 115% under various infiltration conditions during a period of 50 d. WCE was affected by the rainfall intensity as well as by previous rainfall, which enhanced WCE. The results obtained from the use of SCFS and several sensors demonstrated that the amount of leached water remained low as long as irrigation was applied according to the cultivation manual. However, an unexpected heavy rainfall event led to fertilizer leaching. The fertilizer leaching trend was effectively monitored by several sensors inserted into the soils, while detailed analysis of the components was performed after collection by using SCFS. Direct access to infiltration water enabled to examine the infiltration process and detailed variations in the amounts of discharged anions. The sensor-equipped monitoring system together with SCFS is suitable for precise management of fertilizer and irrigation application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1033
Number of pages11
JournalSoil Science and Plant Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Fertilizer leaching
  • Infiltration water sampling
  • Monitoring
  • Sandy field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


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