Modeling Available Soil Moisture Application Note

Both the amount and the availability of water in soil is important to plant roots and soil dwelling organisms. To describe the amount of water in the soil we use the term water content. To describe the availability we talk of water potential. In thermodynamics the water content would be referred to as the extensive variable and the water potential as the intensive variable. Both are needed to correctly describe the state of water in soil and plants. In addition to describing the state of water in the soil, it may also be necessary to know how fast water will move in the soil. For this we need to know the hydraulic conductivity. Other important soil parameters are the total pore space, the drained upper limit for soil water, and the lower limit of available water in a soil. Since these properties vary widely among soils, it would be helpful to establish correlations between these very useful parameters and easily measured properties such as soil texture and bulk density. This document will present the information needed for simple models of soil water processes.

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