Knowledge of the soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) and its spatial variability is essential for many agricultural, environmental, and engineering applications. We analyzed the spatial variability of the parameters of SWCC in gravel-mulched fields using classical statistics and geostatistical methods. Soil samples were collected from the layer in 64 evenly distributed 1 × 1 m quadrats 4 m apart, center to center. SWCC in the gravel-mulched fields could be fitted well by both the van Genuchten and Brooks–Corey models, but the fit was better with the van Genuchten model. The type of fitting three parameters was tested. The model parameters θs and n of each type of soil were weakly variable, and α was moderately variable. The results indicate that the gravel-mulched field has better water retention, and the water retention effect of the new gravel-mulched fields is most obvious. The spatial variation of the parameters in SWCC can therefore be used to infer soil hydraulic properties, which is important for simplifying the calculation of SWCC and quantitatively determining the retention of soil water and for managing the capacity of soil to retain water in gravel-mulched fields in arid regions.

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