Capillary rise

Water is drawn upwards from the water table through a continuous network of pores. The height to which water will rise and the rate of movement depends on the continuity of pores and their diameter. In practice the rise from the water table is rarely more than 2 cm for coarse sands, typically 15 cm in finer textured soils, but it can be substantially greater in silty soils and in chalk. The upward movement of water in these very fine pores is very slow. Capillary rise is used to aid the watering of plants grown in containers (see capillary benches). Several 'self-watering' containers also depend on capillary rise from a water store in their base (see aggregate culture p397).

Drying of a wet soil

Soil water is lost from the soil surface by evaporation and from the rooting zone by plant transpiration.

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