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I know this is an odd one, but I know there is a special word that horticulturists use to describe soil that is so arid that it resists water. So, when it rains, the water initially rushes off of the soil rather than soaking in; counter intuitive to what you would expect. Please help me remember this word.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe the word you're looking for is "dessicated," which is the term used to describe soil such as this:

photo of clay-rich soil

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Hydrophobic soils repel water or absorb it weakly. The opposite term is hydrophilic.

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Impermeable soil... Meaning water can't flow through it.

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