capillary action

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The process in which soil moisture moves in any direction through the fine (capillary) pores of the soil, under surface-tension forces with individual soil particles. Soil moisture in this state is known as capillary moisture. It exists as a film or skin of moisture on the soil particles, and may be drawn above the water-table by capillary action and into the plant roots by the process of osmosis. ‘Capillary conductivity’ is now obsolete in US terminology.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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