Man-made raised sandy soils in the Netherlands are classified as `brown' or `black' plaggen soils. When dry, the brown soils are wettable, but the black soils are water repellent. For one growing season, transects were sampled in a maize cropped black plaggen soil at the Heino experimental farm. Due to interception and stemflow, water was concentrated near the roots of the maize. Between the maize rows, higher soil water contents were found in microdepressions, due to rainwater dripping to the ground from overhanging leaves. Redistribution of soil water from wet to dry areas was restricted by the water repellency of the dry sand. As a consequence, there was a distinct variation in soil moisture content. These irregular wetting patterns did not induce preferential downward flow, but widened over time; because the dry, water repellent subsoil impeded and resisted infiltration into the deeper subsoil.
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