Relationships between leaf and root area indices and soil suction induced during drying-wetting cycles

C.W.W. Ng, A. Garg (Lead / Corresponding author), A. K. Leung, B.C.H. Hau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
259 Downloads (Pure)


The stability and serviceability of geotechnical infrastructure may be affected by plant-induced soil suction during drying-wetting cycles, because an increase in suction would reduce hydraulic conductivity and also increase shear strength. Recent studies have been conducted to quantify suction induced during evapotranspiration (ET) and ponding in soil vegetated with non-crop species that are used for the ecological restoration of geotechnical infrastructure. However, induced suction distribution under drying-wetting cycles has not been investigated. The objectives of this study are to (1) quantify suction induced by a non-crop tree species, Schefflera heptaphylla, under ponding-drying-ponding cycles and (2) correlate intercepted radiant energy, tree leaf area index (LAI), extinction coefficient (k) and root area index (RAI) with suction. In total, 18 vegetated soil samples with LAI ranging from 0.9 to 3.1 and three bare soil samples (control) were tested and subjected to identical cycles of ET and ponding. Energy balance calculation was performed to determine the percentage of interception of radiant energy. An almost linear relationship can be seen between the percentage of energy intercepted (from 7% to 42% ± 4%) and LAI (from 0.9 to 3.1 ± 0.09) for S. heptaphylla. The measured value of k for S. heptaphylla (0.13) was found to be much lower than that of some crop species (0.4-1.6) reported in the literature. Peak suction is always identified at the depth, where RAI is maximum. It was further demonstrated that the tree-induced suction has a strong linear correlation with both the RAI and LAI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Engineering
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Soil suction
  • Schefflera heptaphylla
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Drying-wetting cycles
  • Leaf area index
  • Root area index


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationships between leaf and root area indices and soil suction induced during drying-wetting cycles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this