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Alfalfa And Soil Depth

Categories: Grains and Forage Crops

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 success
ully 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.