Soil Water Repellency

Authored by: Stefan H. Doerr , Richard A. Shakesby

Handbook of Soil Sciences Resource Management and Environmental Impacts

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803073
eBook ISBN: 9781439803080
Adobe ISBN:


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Although soils are normally thought of as being readily wet-table by rainfall or irrigation, it is not uncommon for soils to behave in a water-repellent (hydrophobic) manner (Figure 19.1). This resistance of soils to wetting when in contact with water can persist from as little as a few seconds to, in extreme cases, months (e.g., King, 1981; Dekker and Ritsema, 1994; Doerr and Thomas, 2000). Water-repellent behavior is typically confined to the organically enriched upper few centimeters or decimeters of the soil and tends to be both spatially and temporally highly variable. It can develop when soil moisture falls below a critical threshold and often disappears after prolonged wet periods (Dekker et al., 2001).

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