Alfalfa And Soil Depth
Do you consider soil which is from 4 to 6 feet deep to hardpan of
sufficient depth for alfalfa? Is there hardpan in the region of Lathrop
in San Joaquin county, and can it be dissolved by irrigation, or can any
good be accomplished by blowing holes at different places to allow the
water to pass to lower levels? Are other crops affected by hardpan being
so close to the surface?
You can grow alfalfa successfully on land which is from four to six feet
deep if you irrigate rather more frequently and use less amounts of
water each time, so that the plant shall be adequately supplied and yet
not forced to carry its roots in standing water. The Eastern alfalfa
grower is fortunate when he gets half the depth you mention, although it
does seem rather shallow in California. Shallow lands are distributed
over the valley quite widely. A deepening of the available soil is
usually accomplished by dynamiting, especially so if the hardpan is
underlaid by permanent strata. Alfalfa will penetrate some kinds and
thicknesses of hardpan when it is kept moist, but not too wet, to
encourage root growth.
Winter-growing green crops are less affected by shallow soil because
they generally make their growth while the moisture is ample, if the
season is good.
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