Spring Soil Temperatures Related to Drainage Problems

by John A. McCormick,

Serial Information: Journal of the Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1968, Vol. 94, Issue 1, Pg. 107-114

Document Type: Journal Paper


Drainage problems persist in many irrigation districts where alfalfa, irrigated by the border method, is grown extensively. Early spring growth of alfalfa results from root activity (water removal) in only the upper inches of soil where a wide range of daily soil temperature fluctuation occurs. Attempting to replenish depleted soil moisture in this shallow root zone by irrigating with the border system results in applying excess water. In areas susceptible to high water table fluctuations, excess irrigation water causes alfalfa to become shallow-rooted. Shallow-rooted alfalfa requires frequent irrigation, but each irrigation further contributes to the water-table problem. An alternative corrective measure is presented. The principal feature involves delaying the first irrigation in the spring until the soil temperature at 18 in. reaches 12.8○ C (55○ F).

Subject Headings: Vegetation | Soil water | Water table | Irrigation districts | Border irrigation | Temperature effects | Drainage | Water level

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