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Chapter 1

Soil-Water-Plant Relationship


  • Soil-water-plant relationships concern those physical properties of soil and
    plants that affect the movement, retention, and use of water for the design
    and operation of conservation irrigation systems.
  • For a pdf document that contains the introduction, objectives, and suggested outline, click here.
Suggested Objectives

Suggested Objectives

  1. List the basic physical properties of soils and describe the roles they play
    in irrigation water management.
  2. Explain how water moves through soil.
  3. Describe how plants respond to and use soil-water throughout their
    growing season.
  4. Describe the processes needed to determine crop evapo-transpiration
    and irrigation water requirements.
Suggested Outline

Suggested Outline


I. Introduction

II. Body
A. Soil Physical Properties

1. Texture
2. Structure
3. Porosity
4. Compaction

B. Water Movement Through Soil
C. Soil - Water

1. Plant Availbale Water
2. Infiltration
3. Percolation
4. Types of Soil Water

a. Gravity
b. Capillary
c. Hydroscopic or absorbed

5. Plant rooting depth and moisture extraction patterns

D. Methods for Determining Evapotranspiration (Crop Consumptive Use)
E. Crop Response to Fertilization

III. Summary

Toolbox Material


Note: Note all copies of documents that were contained in the original Irrigation Training Toolbox are available electronically.
If you are unable to find a hard copy of a document in your state, you may be able to borrow a copy from the Water Management Engineer at your regional National technology Support Center.

  • Publication “The Surface Irrigation Manual”, Chapter 1, Cal-Poly
  • PublicationHow Water Moves Through Soil”, University of Arizona/NRCS (2/98)
Lesson Plans



  • Video Video 001 “Plant - Soil -Water Relationships”, Certified Irrigation Designers Step 2 Study Guide, Volume 2, Cal-Poly
  • Video Video 002 “How Water Moves Through Soil”, University of Arizona/NRCS