Soil Physical Property Changes After Skidder Traffic With Varying Tire Widths


  • T. P. McDonald USDA Forest Service, Auburn University, USA
  • B. J. Stokes USDA Forest Service, Auburn University, USA
  • W. M. Aust Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, USA


Eight combinations of skidder tires, ranging in total width from 0.7 m to 2.2 m, were evaluated for rut formation potential on two soils in south-central Alabama. One was a mixed pine-hardwood bottomland; the other was an upland, predominantly pine stand. Each soil/tire combination was replicated twice. Changes in soil profile after one, three, seven, and nine loaded passes were used as indices of soil disturbance. The number of skidder passes was the most significant factor influencing rut formation. The effect was linear up to nine passes on both test sites. The first pass on the upland site accounted for half the average rut depth and area. The magnitude of the displacement after one pass was related to tire width. Each subsequent pass caused a uniform smaller increment in depth and area. The magnitude of the increase was independent of tire width. On the bottomland site, however, each pass resulted in an increment in both depth and area the magnitude of which was a function of tire width. Average rut cross-sectional area on the bottomland site ranged from 0.13 m2 to 0.75 m2 for nine passes. Depth of ruts ranged from 1.7 cm to 3.6 cm for nine passes on the upland soil, and from 1.4 cm to 21.2 cm for nine passes on the bottomland soils. Soil physical properties were not affected by skidder traffic regardless of tire width.






Technical Papers