cultivation, tilling or manipulation of the soil, done primarily to eliminate weeds that compete with crops for water and nutrients. Cultivation may be used in crusted soils to increase soil aeration and infiltration of water; it may also be used to move soil to or away from plants as desired. Cultivation among crop plants is best kept at a minimum; excessive cultivation can be harmful as it may cause root pruning and loss of soil water due to increased evaporation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.