The term puddling was defined by Buehrer and Rose (1943) as “the destruction of the aggregated condition of the soil by mechanical manipulation within a narrow range of moisture contents above and below field capacity (0.3 bars), so that soil aggregates lose their identity and the soil is converted into a structurally more or less homogeneous mass of ultimate particles.” After puddling, a soil is called a puddled soil, defined as a “dense soil with a degraded soil structure; dominated by massive or single‐grain structure, resulting from handling the soil when it is in a wet, plastic condition so that when it dries it becomes hard and cloddy.” (Gregorich et al., 2001).
In most cropping systems, puddling is an unintentional effect of tillage (q.v.) or traffic at the wrong moisture contents and usually results in severe yield decreases or delays in planting. In flooded rice culture, puddling is an important soil‐management practice, conducted with great care for the purpose of destroying...
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