...there exists a better & more versatile solution:
The SEIS pulsed Ultra Low Volume Irrigation
The animation shows how a low frequency periodic sequence of brief, intense water pulses generates a wet configuration equivalent to that of ULDI.
First, the high flow pulses set temporary ponds at the soil surface.
Second, the ponded water infiltrates quickly into the soil from aerial (not point) sources. As the flow stopped after a short time, the incipient conical saturated cores turn to small spherical ones, located near the soil surface. Vertical percolation can’t take place.
Third, water diffusses into the soil mainly by capillarity effect in a dominant horizontal movement, fading out any saturated zone.
As cycles repeat, wet onions tend to join into a regular humid layer that preserves the aeration and porosity of the soil.