How is Over-Irrigation Damaging to Soil: Effects Explained

Anything in excess is poisonous and that stands true for irrigation too. Water, sunlight and proper nutrition are the prerequisites for maintaining the fertility of the soil. All the factors affect the soil in various ways, which in turn also affects the crop yield. The method used to water the crops in fields using natural resources and other resources of water is known as irrigation. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the soil texture and fertility in farms and other crop fields.

How is Over-Irrigation Damaging to Soil?

However, sometimes people end up going over the board in irrigation, which can cause over-irrigation in the farm. Excess water can lead to water logging in the field that damages the crop and also affects the overall yield. Apart from water-logging, over-irrigation has the following effects on the soil:

  • It decreases the pH of the soil, which increases the acidity of the soil. A disturbed pH also leads to the retarded growth of crops.
  • Over-irrigation leads to the oxygen imbalance near the root zone in the soil. 
  • The excess water can stress the plant by reducing the water uptake of the plant. It also drowns the roots which affects the growth of the plants.
  • It also contributes to increasing the microbial growth in the soil. Microbes multiply faster in such water-logged areas. Thus excess water can cause microbial infections and diseases.
  • The exchange of air between the atmosphere and soil reduces due to water logging. Soil needs proper air exchange to maintain porosity and texture. This imbalance in air exchange is also one of the reasons for the slow growth of roots and plants.
  • Over-irrigation leads to nitrogen leaching in soil. Nitrogen is one of the vital nutrients for soil fertility. It helps in providing the plant with nutrition for growth and reproduction. 
  • Watering the field beyond the limit can delay the transport of nutrients from the roots to the other parts of plants. 
  • It also leads to weed pressure and can also be one of the reasons for excess weed growth in the field.
  • Over-irrigation also washes away the fertilizers and pesticides and ends up decreasing the yield and growth of the plants.
  • Water logging reduces the organic material of the soil. Organic matter of the soil helps in increasing its fertility. It leads to salt accumulation near the soil surface that restricts the uptake of nutrients in plants.

Over-irrigation can be the cause of many root and plant diseases. As the water is not taken up by the plants, it is also a waste of resources, which is not desirable. It reduces the porosity, pH and fertility of the soil, which are the crucial factors for crop production. Make sure to irrigate the farm in proportion to maintain the fertility and crop yield of the farm.

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