the following are types of soil water movement

infiltration soil water movement

infiltration is the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil. infiltration rate in soil science is the measure of the rate at which soil is able to absorb rainfall or irrigation. it is measured in inches per hour or millimeter per hour. the rate decreases as the soil becomes saturated

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infiltation can be visualized by pouring water into grass filled with dry powdered soil, slightly tamped. the water seeps into the soil and becomes darker as it is wetted

factors affecting the infiltration rate

the following factors affects the infiltration rate of soil water or moisture in the soil

  • the soil moisture content: the soil water infiltrate faster (high infiltration rate) when the soil is dry than when it is wet.as the consequence, when irrigation water is applied to a field the water at first infiltrate easily, but as the soil becomes wet, the inflitration rate decreases.
  • soil texture: coarse textured soil have mainly large particles in between therefore it has larger pores. on the other hand fine textured soil have mainly small particles in between therfore it has small pores. in coarse soils, the rain or irrigation water moves more easily (infiltration rate is higher as compared to fine textured soil)
  • the soil structure: water infiltrate quicky (there is higher infiltration rate) into granular soil than in the massive and compact soils

percolation soil water movement

percolation is downward movement of water through saturated or nearly saturated soil in the response to the force of gravity. percolation occurs when water is under pressure or when the tension is smaller than about 1/2 atmosphere. percolation rate is synonymous with infiltration rate with the qualitative provision of saturated or near-saturated conditions.

interflow soil water movement

interflow is the lateral seepage of water in relatively pervious soil above a less pervious layer. such water usually reapper on the surface of the soil at lower elevation.


leaching (refers to soluble chemical or minerals draining away from the soil, ash, or similar materials by the action of percolating liquid, especially rainwater or irrigation water.


Types of equipment for soil sampling

The major equipment used in soil sampling is the Auger but incase it is absent, the following tools can be used.

  • Transverse method
  • Zig Zag method
  • Spot method
Types of equipment for soil sampling

Transverse method

In this method, diagonals are drawn across the field/area to be sampled and sites are selected along those diagonals

Zig Zag Method

Here, sites are chosen at random in the entire field as shown below without any formula

Spot Method

In this method, one location is chosen randomly. This is suitable for small pieces of land of about 0.25 acre.

2 Methods of assessing soil texture

what is soil texture?

Soil texture is one of the physical properties of soil along with soil structure, soil color, soil temperature, soil porosity, and others.

2 Methods of assessing soil texture

Soil texture can be defined as the coarseness or fineness of the soil determined by the relative proportion of soil particles of different diameters.

The size of soil particles can make the soil coarse-textured, medium-textured, and fine-textured.

The texture of the soil can be assessed by either sense of feel method or particle analysis method. 

Methods of assessing soil texture

Sense of feel method

this method is done in the field in which soil sample is rubbed, preferably in wet condition between fingers, and may give any of the following results;

  • gritty feel – this imply the soil is of coarse texture as its particle are large in size and is recognized as sand soil.
  • flour feel – the soil is slightly fine or medium texture as its particles are medium in size and is recognized as silt soil.
  • plastic feel – the soil is of fine texture as its particles are quite small and is known as clay soil.

Particle analysis method

this method is more accurate as it is done in the laboratory and involves recognizing the texture of the soil by measuring the size of soil particles in the soil sample.

Diameter of the particle (mm)Name of soil
Less than 0.002clay
0.002 – 0.02silt
0.02 – 0.2Fine sand
0.2 – 2Course sand
2 – 20Fine gravel
20 – 200gravel



  • Poor Water-Holding Capacity: Sandy soils have low water-holding capacity due to their coarse texture and large particle size. Water tends to drain quickly through the large spaces between the sand particles, resulting in poor water retention.

  • Coarse Texture: Sandy soils have a coarse texture because they predominantly consist of sand particles. These particles are relatively large, which gives the soil a gritty feel when touched.
  • Well-Aerated: Due to their coarse texture, sandy soils are well aerated. The larger spaces between sand particles allow for efficient air movement and oxygen circulation within the soil, promoting good root respiration.
  • High Rate of Leaching: Sandy soils have a high rate of leaching, which refers to the rapid movement of water and dissolved nutrients through the soil profile. The coarse texture of sandy soils facilitates fast drainage, causing nutrients to leach out quickly, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies.

  • Low Capillarity: Sandy soils have low capillarity, meaning they have a limited ability to draw water upwards through capillary action. The large spaces between sand particles do not facilitate the upward movement of water against gravity as effectively as finer-textured soils.
  • Less Stable Structure and Erosion Susceptibility: Sandy soils have a less stable soil structure compared to other soil types. Their loose arrangement of large particles makes them prone to erosion by wind or water, leading to soil loss and reduced fertility if not properly managed.
  • Acidic pH: Sandy soils typically have acidic pH levels. The low water-holding capacity of these soils contributes to leaching of basic cations (such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium), leading to an accumulation of acidic substances.
  • Quick Temperature Response: Sandy soils warm up quickly during the day due to their low water-holding capacity and good drainage. They also cool down rapidly at night as heat is released from the soil surface. This characteristic can influence plant growth and affect the choice of crops in specific climates.

  • Composition: Sandy soils primarily consist of 80-95% sand particles, with smaller proportions of silt (5-2%) and clay (0.1-1%). The organic matter content is generally low, ranging from 0.1% to 1%.
  • Light and Easy to Work: Sandy soils are lightweight and easy to work with due to their loose structure. They can be easily tilled, cultivated, or amended, which can be advantageous for gardening and agricultural practices.



Soil PH is the measure of the Acidity/Alkalinity of the soil.

It is also the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil.



  • PH determines what type of crop to grow in a particular soil e.g. – Arabica coffee and Tea do well in Acidic soils, legumes do well in Alkaline.
  • PH influences the availability of plant Nutrients e.g. – At high PH Potassium becomes unavailable.
  • At low PH phosphorus becomes unavailable
  • Some plant diseases are more pronounced in soils with low PH e.g. fungal diseases.
  • Nitrogen-fixing bacteria prefer a PH of 5.5 – 8 , Low/high PH will affect the activities of these bacteria



Soil fertility; Is the ability of soil to produce enough Nutrients required to support plant growth.

Soil productivity is the ability of the soil to produce good yields in terms of crops.



Water holding capacity:

A fertile soil should retain just the right amount of water to support crop growth

Good drainage:

Fertile soils should be able to allow excess HO2 to sink easily. This creates enough space for air
and influences having enough temperature for crop growth.

Soil depth:

Deep soils give plant roots a large area in which to spread and obtain plant nutrients.

 Good organic matter content

The ant of organic matter releases many soil nutrients

Good soil PH:

PH also influences availability of plant nutrients

PH should be favourable for some crops e.g Acidic allows growth of some crops while Alkaline also.

 Good soil structure:

Soil structure influences root penetration into the soil and prevents erosion to occur

Good aeration:

Soil should have enough air to support respiration of roots and micro organisms


Ways of destroying soil structure

Soil structure is the overall arrangement of soil particles within a given soil

Ways of destroying soil structure

ways of destroying soil structure

  • Through cultivation which leads to rapid break down of organic matter.
  • Overgrazing which encourages erosion
  • Mining which causes deposition of sub soils
  • Leaching of nutrients especially from top to subsoil
  • soil erosion
  • cropping and harvesting practices
  • water logging
  • Manuring to increase aggregate stability
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