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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Cover-Crop-Enhanced Water Infiltration of a Slowly Permeable Fine Sandy Loam


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 5, p. 1539-1546
    Received: Oct 12, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. S. H. Gulick,
  2. D. W. Grimes ,
  3. D. A. Goldhamer and
  4. D. S. Munk
  1. Land, Air, and Water Resources Dep., Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616, Kearney Agric. Ctr., 9240 S. Riverbend Ave., Parlier, CA 93648
    Fresno County Extension, Fresno, CA



Infiltration improvement in many sandy to medium textured soils of California's Central Valley is often hampered by unfavorable soil properties, unfavorable management practices, and the need to protect perennial crop roots. Minimum-tillage practices using chemical sprays, mulches, and cover crops avoid soil structure deterioration due to high traffic, but some properties of these methods are not universally acceptable. Furrow irrigation water infiltration, water use, and ‘Thompson Seedless’ grape production were evaluated on a Hanford fine sandy loam (coarse-loamy, mixed, nonacid, thermic Typic Xerorthent) for three management systems for 2 yr to develop a useful system. The compared systems were (i) continuous cover crop [winter ‘Blando’ bromegrass (Bromus mollis L.) followed by summer resident vegetation] (CC); (ii) winter bromegrass, herbicide treated to form a summer mulch (CHT); and (iii) bare soil, herbicide treated as needed (BHT). Cumulative infiltration for 8-h irrigation periods, averaged for five irrigations, was 177 mm for CC, 125 mm for CHT, and 74 mm for BHT during the second season. Eight-hour cumulative infiltration was unchanged from the first year to the second for BHT but increased with CC from 107 mm to 202 mm at the first irrigation of each year; the increase for CHT was intermediate. Cover cropping between vineyard rows increased soil water depletion in the between-row zone profile by an average of 14 mm for CHT and 27 mm for CC for each drying cycle between irrigations. Soil water depletion beneath vine rows was unchanged by treatment.

Supported in part by the Univ. of California Kearney Foundation of Soil Science.

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