Johannes Lund Jensen , Per Schjønning, Christopher W. Watts, Bent T. Christensen, Lars J. Munkholm
Exact estimates of soil clay (<2 μm) and silt (2–20 μm) contents are crucial as these size fractions impact key soil functions, and as pedotransfer concepts based on clay and silt contents are becoming increasingly abundant. We examined the effect of removing soil organic matter (SOM) by H2O2 before soil dispersion and determination of clay and silt. Soil samples with gradients in SOM were retrieved from three long-term field experiments each with uniform soil mineralogy and texture. For soils with less than 2 g C 100 g-1 minerals, clay estimates were little affected by SOM. Above this threshold, underestimation of clay increased dramatically with increasing SOM content. Silt contents were systematically overestimated when SOM was not removed; no lower SOM threshold was found for silt, but the overestimation was more pronounced for finer textured soils. When exact estimates of soil particles <20 μm are needed, SOM should always be removed before soil dispersion.