Hydraulic Lift and Soil Nutrient Heterogeneity
Water released at night from roots into upper portions of the soil profile in the process of hydraulic lift may contribute to reducing spatial soil nutrient heterogeneity. A manipulative field experiment was conducted in a semiarid shrub stand to determine if circumvention of hydraulic lift, by nighttime illumination of the shrub canopy, would result in greater soil nutrient heterogeneity than if the hydraulic lift process was allowed to operate. Nutrient-enriched patches were superimposed on the existing soil heterogeneity and after 40 days, the patches and interspaces were sampled for ions of different mobility and for root mass. There was no indication under these conditions that hydraulic lift was contributing to smoothing spatial nutrient heterogeneity.
Caldwell, M. M.; Dawson, T. E.; Richards, J. H.; 1998. Oecologia 113(2): 151-161.