Description of practice

Growing deep rooted crops can break up compacted soils and improve soil quality. Deep rooted crops can be perennial plants like alfalfa or annuals like forage radish. As part of a crop rotation, deep rooted crops also enable a more balanced soil fertility management.

Examples of how to use deep rooted crops Further information
(see Note below)

AMP34 01

Deep rooted cover crops

Cover crops with well-developed rooting systems are specifically planted to improve soil structure through natural decompaction and increase carbon sequestration within the soil profile.


»WOCAT technology 1291

AMP34 02

Perennial shrubs

The perennial Korshinsk pea shrub (Caragana korshinskii) is used to protect soil from water and wind erosion. It has long roots and can extract water from deep soil layers. Rhizobium in its root can increase soil fertility. 


»WOCAT technology 1370

AMP34 03

Alfalfa intercropping in terraced fruit orchard

Alfalfa and fruit trees are intercropped in a terraced orchard for fruit and fodder production and soil and water conservation. Because it fixes nitrogen, alfalfa also increases soil fertility.


»WOCAT technology 1198

AMP34 04

Biodrilling cover crops

Dicotyledonous crops with long taproots like radish, rape and lupine are used to counter soil compaction because they create deep root channels by “biodrilling”, aiding infiltration, gas exchange, and rootability.



Note: Most of the Further information links are to a full description of the example in the WOCAT database. However sometimes the link may be to similar practices or a research paper. Occasionally the link is to a commercial product in which case it should be understood that this does not imply any endorsement of the product by iSQAPER.

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